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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Volume 71, Issue 2, September 2005

Harvey Siegel
Pages 345-366

Truth, Thinking, Testimony and Trust
Alvin Goldman on Epistemology and Education

In his recent work in social epistemology, Alvin Goldman argues that truth is the fundamental epistemic end of education, and that critical thinking is of merely instrumental value with respect to that fundamental end. He also argues that there is a central place for testimony and trust in the classroom, and an educational danger in over-emphasizing the fostering of students’ critical thinking. In this paper I take issue with these claims, and argue that (1) critical thinking is a fundamental end of education, independently of its instrumental tie to truth, and (2) it is critical thinking, rather than testimony and trust, that is educationally basic.