In The Philosophers' Magazine issue 69 (2nd Quarter 2015, on the theme of "Teaching philosophy") Emily Esch's essay "Learning to question everything" discusses a goal of teaching philosophy as "developing certain habits of mind" — in particular:
- charitable reading
- "... when critiquing an argument, position, or theory one should take the best possible version of that argument, position, or theory."
- "... approach arguments, positions, or theories from the perspective of the believer."
- resisting the urge to settle for quick and easy answers
- "... the world is complex and messy and ... philosophers are frequently in a place where multiple, conflicting positions all seem equally good (or bad)."
- "... a curiosity about the world, a desire to get beyond the surface appearances, to get deep in the weeds, to muck around in a confusion of ideas."
- comfort with ambiguity
- "... comfort with the notion that even after deep study, one still might not know where one stands on a particular issue — and that is okay."
- acknowledging "... the difficult nature of philosophical questions and the limitations on one's knowledge."
- taking pleasure in the struggle of difficult ideas
- "... the idea that intellectual activity is enjoyable for its own sake; that studying difficult ideas involves exercising our cognitive capacities and this can be enjoyable in the way the people find running or singing or dancing enjoyable."
And Esch's punch line: "One can't do philosophy without being willing to question everything."
(cf. QuestionAuthority (2000-01-18), AuthoritarianButtons (2002-06-07), Critical Thinking (2009-12-03), Critical Thinking Defined (2010-02-10), Fallibilism (2013-05-14), Reflective Judgment (2014-04-09), ...) - ^z - 2015-08-22