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Reflective Judgment

Prof Patricia King of the University of Michigan sketches a neat model of seven stages in what she (and colleague Karen Strohm Kitchener) call "Reflective Judgment". Summarizing her summary of the progressively more sophisticated levels of self-awareness in thinking:

  1. Knowledge is assumed to exist absolutely and concretely ... It can be obtained with certainty by direct observation. ... ("I know what I have seen.")
  2. Knowledge is assumed to be absolutely certain or certain but not immediately available. Knowledge can be obtained directly through the senses (as in direct observation) or via authority figures. ... ("If it is on the news, it has to be true.")
  3. Knowledge is assumed to be absolutely certain or temporarily uncertain. In areas of temporary uncertainty, only personal beliefs can be known ... ("When there is evidence that people can give to convince everybody one way or another, then it will be knowledge, until then, it's just a guess.")
  4. Knowledge is uncertain and knowledge claims are idiosyncratic to the individual ... knowing always involves an element of ambiguity. ... ("I'd be more inclined to believe evolution if they had proof. It's just like the pyramids: I don't think we'll ever know. Who are you going to ask? No one was there.")
  5. Knowledge is contextual and subjective ... Only interpretations of evidence, events, or issues may be known ... ("People think differently and so they attack the problem differently. Other theories could be as true as my own, but based on different evidence.")
  6. Knowledge is constructed into individual conclusions about ill-structured problems on the basis of information from a variety of sources. ... ("It's very difficult in this life to be sure. There are degrees of sureness. You come to a point at which you are sure enough for a personal stance on the issue.")
  7. Knowledge is the outcome of a process of reasonable inquiry in which solutions to ill-structured problems are constructed. ... Beliefs are justified probabilistically ... ("One can judge an argument by how well thought-out the positions are, what kinds of reasoning and evidence are used to support it, and how consistent the way one argues on this topic is as compared with other topics.")

Sounds like a progression toward mature Bayesian thinking!

(cf. Critical Thinking (2009-12-03), Critical Thinking Defined (2010-02-10), Fallibilism (2013-05-14), ...) - ^z - 2014-04-09