Volume 4, 2006
Philosophy of Education
Learning, Critical Thinking, and Confucius
In this paper I argue that Confucius' view of learning in the Analects entails critical thinking. Although he neither specified the logical rules of good reasoning nor theorised about the structure of argument, Confucius advocated and emphasised the importance of critical thinking. For this thesis, I argue that a close examination of Confucius' pronouncements on learning reveals that he takes critical thinking to be essential to learning. For Confucius critical thinking refers to reflective thinking: reflection on the materials of knowledge, in order to synthesise and systematise the raw materials into a whole, and to integrate them into oneself as wisdom.