“What is Critical Thinking?” with Harvey Siegel

Episode 11:
Original Broadcast: December 13, 2009

Is it ever possible to actually persuade anybody? How do we best critically analyze our own opinions? Is human rationality really that which lies at our decision making process? Is there a right answer and how do modern diversity considerations interfere with arguments seeking the Truth? These questions mark only the beginning of discussions regarding critical thinking and the role of informal logic in people’s day to day life. Join Harvey Siegel for a discussion on how people think, whether thinking skills can actually be improved, and coping with relativism in an argument.

Harvey Siegel is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami. He was educated at Cornell University and Harvard University. His research interests are in the areas of philosophy of science, epistemology, and philosophy of education. He is especially interested in issues concerning rationality and relativism. He has published over 100 articles both in philosophy and education journals, and has published three books:Relativism Refuted: A Critique of Contemporary Epistemological Relativism,Educating Reason: Rationality, Critical Thinking, and Education, and Rationality Redeemed? Further Dialogues on an Educational Ideal. He is the editor of Reason and Education: Essays in Honor of Israel Scheffler. He is past President of both the Philosophy of Education Society and the Association for the Philosophy of Education.

Why?’s host Jack Russell Weinstein says, “This radio show presumes the possibility of critical thinking. Its guests also hope to persuade. Our conversation with Harvey will not only force us to come to terms with the nature of human thought but also the hopes and aspirations for this show. Harvey is a thoughtful philosopher of education with his finger on the pulse of a core issue in the human experience. How can we educate if we don’t teach people to think better?”

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