Integrating Critical Thinking and General Semantics: An Interactive Panel
Rachel Lauer, Moderator
This chapter is an abstraction from a transcription of a tape made of the program on "Integrating Critical Thinking and General Semantics." Some of the sound was inaudible. Particularly, we were unable to go all the comments from the audience. Most of the comments we report here have been edited or paraphrased.
At the start of the session, Dr Lauer, as moderator, introduced each speaker, who spoke for about five minutes.
Bob Swarts (also the conference keynote speaker), representing critical thinking, spoke of his own evolution from being a professor of philosophy at various universities to his present work at the University of Massachusetts (and elsewhere) where he teaches professionals and business people how to help others improve their thinking. In intermediary years he worked with high school teachers, helping them to change their own thinking within their own disciplines. He and his teachers were, and are, keenly aware that kids need a much greater spirit of inquiry. Swartz emphasized that all people need to be more open to change, more willing to examine any and every idea, belief and goal. People should learn more about how to clarify and analyze ideas to determined their reasonableness. Beyond analytic judgment, he stressed creative thinking (generating ideas) as useful for real life problems.
Bob Pula, representing general semantics, emphasized sound, independent formulating of concepts and issues. Early in his career he took on the task of teaching "slow" high school students to think better, a challenging but enlightening venture. Both he and his pupils learned together.
He spoke of Richard Paul's quest for a third wave of critical thinking to