How is critical thinking different to thinking philosophically?

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How is critical thinking different to thinking philosophically?

Interesting question, especially insofar as some philosophy departments offer as their rationale in higher education the claim that philosophy is especially well suited as a discipline in promoting critical thinking, a skill that philosophy professors claim (with good reason, in my view) is an asset throughout the curriculum and in "the real world." Also, some philosophers in the so-called Enlightenment (such as Kant) single out "criticism" as one of the central projects of philosophy. Even so, one may well engage in critical thinking in ways that seem far from philosophical thinking (e.g. engaging in critical thinking about about whether J.P. Morgan is guilty of embezzlement or about whether there has been or is life on Mars) and philosophical thinking sometimes treats critical reflection as secondary to imagination and speculation. Still, it seems that critical thinking plus philosophy offers a more comprehensive methodology, e.g. thoughts about JPM might well be assisted in light of a philosophy of corporations, property, concepts of theft and responsibility, and thoughts about life on Mars will at some point require a philosophy of what counts as life --perhaps there is or could be plant or animal or some other life form radically different from what we find on earth). Moreover, while some philosophy may give center stage to imagination and speculation, without critical thinking or criticism, including self-criticism, the results may be more like fantasy than serious philosophy.

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