The Teaching of Thinking

The Teaching of Thinking

The Teaching of Thinking

The Teaching of Thinking

Excerpt

"Think!" Who has not received this admonition many times? From parents, from teachers, from employers, from politicians, and from other promoters of ideas, ideals, and ideologies.

Good advice, no doubt. But good advice presumes that the person given it knows how to follow it. And what evidence is there that this is so? One can imagine a motivated recipient of such advice sincerely responding "How?" One has more difficulty imagining what a helpful answer would be. Clearly it is much easier to admonish people to think than to tell them how to do so.

Perhaps part of the difficulty stems from the fact that the word "think" is commonly used in a variety of ways. Consider the following examples: "What do you think about X?" "I think this is the one I saw, but am not sure." "When I think about my childhood, I get nostalgic." "I did not think about that." "One should think carefully before deciding what to do." The first example might be paraphrased: "What is your opinion about, or attitude toward, X?" In the second case "think" is synonymous with "believe," in the third with "reminisce." In the fourth example "think about" means "consider," and in the fifth "think" could be replaced by "reflect," "ponder," "reason," or "deliberate."

The last two examples best represent what we mean by thinking in this book. That is not to say the others are of no concern; indeed attitudes, beliefs, and memory processes are of considerable interest, and will be mentioned in several contexts in what follows. Our primary focus, however, will be on intentional, purposeful, goal-oriented thinking--thinking, if you will, for the express purpose of realizing some specific objective.

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