September 11, 2021
There is an article associated with this podcast episode here: https://www.bretthall.org/critically-creative-1.html
I mention this article from the University of Sydney, Australia: https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/critical-thinking.html
While recording this podcast, I had in mind teachers: they are my primary “target audience” so to speak. But this will, I hope be useful for anyone with a “stake” in the education system: so of course students, their parents, university lecturers, administrators - people in a position to make decisions about schools and curriculum. The topic is essentially “Critical Thinking” and what I think it is, in the Popperian tradition. As I will mention, unlike even just 15 years ago, “Critical Thinking” is now a fashionable term thrown around in schools, universities and among those charged with deciding what students are taught and how. Often “Creative Thinking” is thrown into the mix as well. All sorts of activities are devised for students to improve these “skills”: sometimes entire new subjects are created for students to take that are supposed to be about improving “critical thinking”. It’s all - from the education system’s point of view - very new. And because it’s new *there* they are, largely speaking, inventing things on the fly or designating certain techniques or rules or activities “critical and creative thinking”. It really is all the buzz in many places.
The time stamps below will give you some better idea of the full content.
00:00:00 Introduction - and what should be in a school curriculum.
00:04:00 Educational buzz words and “lock in”.
00:07:55 Some initial thoughts about +the practical* uses of epistemology
00:10:30 Teaching vs Learning Strategies and “Student Engagement”
14:30 Criticisms - what are they?
15:30 What it takes to pass exams.
16:40 To be creative should you obey no rules?
18:30 A second pass on the practical applications of critical thinking
22:25 The Grass Eating cure for the 100th time ;)
25:20 “The Explanation Criteria”
28:30 Peer review (& double blind placebo controlled trials in medicine) and *when* it is we can say we know what we know.
32:45 Critical Thinking everywhere
33:00 Explanationless science, mathematics 35:30 What is “criticism” exactly?
36:00 As applied to history & music.
36:50 How to come up with good criticisms and some discussion of the possibility of heuristics for better critical thinking.
39:10 Constructive vs Destructive criticism. (& the distinction between ideas and people).
44:00 Popper - an introduction for those involved in education
45:30 The anti-rational hangup ballast.
48:35 A very general two-step process for framing any analysis that requires the use of “critical thinking”.
50:13 Some more specific explicit unpacking of some critical thinking “techniques” or heuristics.
52:09 A “fundamental” theorem of criticism or the chief principle of critical thinking. :)
56:27 Creative thinking: the little we know.
59:00 Remarks about economics and free vs regulated markets
01:01:27 How can we improve creative thinking?
01:01:03 Creativity and criticism in evolution by natural selection
01:04:07 How does human creativity work? Remarks on AGI.
01:09:09 How a child teaches us
01:14:38 Final “critically creative” thoughts.
01:18:00 Typical “critical thinking” as it is taught at university: https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/critical-thinking.html
01:20:00 The purpose of critical and creative thinking as taught at schools/universities.