Critical Thinking and the Duties of Philosophers as Ethics Teachers
Teachers of philosophy in universities, colleges, and public schools worldwide are committed to teaching students to think critically about their most fundamental beliefs. However, since the time of Socrates this commitment has been shadowed by a nagging worry, particularly among philosophers interested in education: that young people will use their newly-acquired critical thinking skills destructively. I consider how teachers in the contemporary classroom should understand their duties and goals with regard to teaching students to think critically about their moral beliefs. At first glance, our general educational duties seem clear. As educators, we strive to enable students to participate well in democracies and to live their lives well. However, determining how these general goals inform more specific ones within the particular context of the university classroom is difficult. I propose that a useful framework for considering this is considering how our potential goals are constrained by professional and moral duties.
Keywords: Ethics, Critical Thinking, Reason, Morality, Socrates
Sarah Lublink Daley
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Philosophy, The University of Western Ontario