CRITICAL REASONING, PHILOSOPHY AT SECONDARY SCHOOLS, AND THE EDUCATION OF DEMOCRATIC CITIZENS

  • Sturm ., Thomas Kurt (Principal Investigator)
  • Bakhurst, David (Collaborator)
  • Bishop, Michael (Collaborator)
  • Burkard, Anne (Collaborator)
  • Deulofeu Batllori, Roger (Collaborator)
  • Kitcher, Philip (Collaborator)
  • Löwenstein, David (Collaborator)
  • Shepherd, Joshua (Collaborator)
  • Siegel, Harvey (Collaborator)
  • Mumbrú Mora, Àlex (Investigator)

Project Details

Description

IT IS WIDELY ACCEPTED THAT DEMOCRACIES DEPEND UPON CITIZENS HAVING SUFFICIENTLY HIGH LEVELS OF INFORMATION AND THE CAPACITY TO CAREFULLY DISCUSS AND CRITICALLY EVALUATE A PLURALITY OF POSITIONS AND ARGUMENTS BACKING THEM UP - IN SHORT, THAT THEY USE CRITICAL REASONING (CR). IT IS ALSO WIDELY CLAIMED THAT, IN RECENT YEARS, THE DISTRIBUTION OF THIS SKILL HAS NOT IMPROVED. INSTEAD, IT MAY BE ON THE DECLINE, THROUGH A MIXTURE OF FACTORS SUCH AS GROWING POPULISM AND PROPAGANDA ON INTERNET-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA, OR THROUGH DECREASED TRUST IN TRADITIONAL MEDIA OR IN SCIENCE. THIS LEADS TO PROBLEMS SUCH AS PERSUASION E.G. BY APPEALS TO MERE EMOTIONS, TO PROPAGANDISTIC SPREADING OF DUBITABLE CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO TALK OF “POST-TRUTH” OR “ALTERNATIVE FACTS”, TO INCREASED LEVELS OF POPULISM IN DEMOCRACIES, OR TO EMOTIONALIZED OBJECTIONS TO TRANSNATIONAL PROJECTS, SUCH AS THE EUROPEAN UNION. STRATEGIES OF PERSUASION, PROPAGANDA, AND POPULISM (PPP) COME IN DIFFERENT FORMS AND IN DIFFERENT DOMAINS, BUT THEY ALL POSE A CHALLENGE TO THE DEMOCRACY: THEY FREQUENTLY REVEAL CITIZENS’ INABILITY TO ARGUE RATIONALLY, AS WELL AS TO ACCEPT GOOD ARGUMENTS WHEN THEY ARE GIVEN, ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES OF THE DAY. STRATEGIES NEED TO BE DEVELOPED OR ENHANCED TO COUNTER THESE TENDENCIES. TRADITIONALLY, PHILOSOPHY IS THE DISCIPLINE THAT HELPS PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES, TO CRITICALLY QUESTION BELIEFS AND AUTHORITIES, AND TO REPLACE ARGUMENTS OF FORCE BY THE FORCE OF ARGUMENTS. PHILOSOPHERS USE THEORIES OF CR DEVELOPED FROM ANTIQUITY TO TODAY - ESPECIALLY FORMAL AND INFORMAL LOGIC, THEORIES OF PROBABILITY OR RATIONAL CHOICE, AS WELL AS BASIC INSIGHTS OF EPISTEMOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE. SINCE OUR SOCIETIES ARE NOT TRAINED IN CR IN SYSTEMATIC AND SUSTAINED WAYS, PPP STRATEGIES FIND THEIR WAYS INTO CITIZENS’ MINDS TOO EASILY. ENHANCING THE SKILLS NECESSARY FOR DETECTING SUCH STRATEGIES, AND REPLACING PPP STRATEGIES BY CR SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO BETTER DEMOCRATIC DELIBERATION AND DECISION-MAKING. IN PARTICULAR, IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS, THE TRAINING IN CR IN SPAIN AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES IS DEFICIENT, PARTLY BECAUSE THE TEACHING OF PHILOSOPHY AT SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD IS DISUNIFIED. EVEN IN THE EUROPEAN UNION, COUNTRIES HAVE THEIR OWN CURRICULUM, AND SOMETIMES THESE DIFFER WITHIN THEM. WE BELIEVE THAT INTRODUCING A SYSTEMATIC TRAINING IN CR AT HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL WOULD HELP TO BOOST AND BOLSTER CR IN OUR DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES. OUR PROPOSAL AIMS TO INVESTIGATE THE GENERAL TOPIC IN THREE RELATED WORK PACKAGES (WPS), INCREASINGLY FOCUSED ON ENHANCING CR TEACHING WITHIN THE PHILOSOPHY EDUCATION AT SPANISH SCHOOLS. WP-I: A COMPARISON OF SCHOOL EDUCATION IN PHILOSOPHY IN SPAIN AND OTHER COUNTRIES IN ORDER TO TAKE STOCK OF EXISTING CURRICULA, ESPECIALLY LOOKING AT WHETHER OR HOW FAR THEY INCLUDE THE TEACHING OF CR, HOW SYSTEMATIC AND SUSTAINED, AND WITH WHICH METHODS AND MATERIALS. WP-II: EMPIRICAL PILOT STUDIES FOR DETERMINING THE BEST TIME FRAME FOR TEACHING CR, THE EFFICACY OF DIFFERENT NORMATIVE MODELS AND DIDACTICAL METHODS, AS WELL AS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR LONG-TERM HABITUALIZATION OF CR SKILLS, CARRIED OUT AT SELECTED SPANISH SCHOOL CLASSES. WP-III: THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SCHOOL CURRICULUM FOR SPANISH SCHOOLS INTEGRATING CR IN A MORE SUSTAINED AND SYSTEMATIC MANNER WITHIN PHILOSOPHY, WITH AN EYE TOWARDS ITS USES AT THE EARLIEST TIME POSSIBLE, AND EFFICACY FOR BOOSTING ADOLESCENTS’S CR SKILLS IN CONTEXTS OF DEMOCRATIC DEBATES AND DECISION-MAKING.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/2331/08/26

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