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Philosophy and Critical Thinking

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Aristotle (384-322BCE)

Philosophy is a collaborative activity because we share common goals— to learn, to know, to understand. Discussion is essential to the practice of philosophy! This becomes clear when we share our own meaningful insights that have come from reading and thinking about what others have thought and written concerning these important themes. Here are some tips to help you as you enter the conversation:

Be Prepared

  • First, READ!
  • Identify arguments
  • Consider the overall goal
  • Identify central theses
  • Spot important passages
  • Make connections

Ask Questions

Answers to questions provide information necessary to discuss and write about these philosophical themes meaningfully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Chances are there are others in class with the same questions about the material.

Respect Others

In the discussion of these important themes, there will be disagreements. People can become impassioned and excited. We should nevertheless remember to show respect to others and attempt to interpret other people’s positions charitably.

When Studying Critical Thinking or Logic

Remember that mastery of the content requires both skill and memorization. You will be expected to memorize certain formulas and theorems, and, in turn learn to apply them in the assigned problems.

Helpful Online Sources

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophy Pages