The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education

By Ivan Olson; Ralph A. Smith | Go to book overview

Introduction

This text combines an amalgam of philosophical reflection with active empirical studies, as well as eighteenth- and nineteenth-century formalism. Also included are discussions of theory of illumination, retinal reception, and cognitive color theories. Many topics, diverse in themselves, have been brought together to offer a resource for discussion and investigation in the areas of learning processes, teaching, and creativity.

The text takes the reader from an overview of some of the foundational work relating to philosophy, critical thinking, aesthetic processes, "awareness," and the mind, through several chapters which will continuously define or redefine critical thinking, creativity, and cultural literacy. Chapter one will present what I believe to be a necessary philosophical overview. In it the reader will find an emphasis on the foundational work of some of the great idealist and realist thinkers as it has influenced our attitudes and approaches to arts experiences, as well as experiences in the other areas of life experiences. Chapter two emphasizes perception and cognition as an important combination, almost inseparable in the three levels of arts activities: creating, presenting, and receiving. Chapters three and four delve deeply into material which is often overlooked in arts or aesthetics issues. I am hopeful that the reader will find helpful resource material here in the discussion of the human developmental processes, art and absorption, the psyche, and defining creativity, all of this brought together under the umbrella of critical thinking. In chapter four, particularly, I present one of the least known cognitive areas of study and issues: imagery. I am convinced that this is a most important area -- recent literature shows that many others now agree with me -- and certainly needs and deserves continuous exploration. Chapter five returns to an overview approach, not as that found in the first chapter, but now as an attempt to relate our ideas, experiments, data, conclusions, and reflections

-xi-

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The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Theoretical and Philosophical Overview 1
  • 2 - Perceptual Style 13
  • 3 - Cognition and the Arts: Some Necessary Generalizations 25
  • 4 - The Image is Everything 43
  • 5 - Arts, Aesthetics, and the Umbrella of Critical Thinking 65
  • 6 - Teaching Approaches 97
  • Appendix - A Taxonomy for the Aesthetic Transaction 107
  • Selected Bibliography 131
  • Index 139
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