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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Failure of Critical Thinking: Virtue Epistemology as a Pedagogical Alternative

Emery J. Hyslop-Margison.

In spite of its ubiquitous popularity, some educators have begun to express concern with critical thinking's lack of actual classroom impact, and there is little reliable evidence, anecdotal or empirical, that critical thinking instruction is having any positive pedagogical influence. In this paper, I will argue that the lack of success enjoyed by critical thinking instruction arises from significant conceptual and epistemological errors. These errors follow from the fallacious Cartesian metaphysics on which mental process terms are predicated. Rather than attempting to rehabilitate critical thinking, I suggest jettisoning the concept in favor of a potentially more fruitful pedagogical approach based on virtue epistemology.


Emery J. Hyslop-Margison  (United States)
assistant professor
Educational Studies
Ball State University

Dr. Emery J. Hyslop-Margison is an assistant professor in the departmenr of educational studies at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. His research interests include career education, philosophy of education and critical thinking.

  • Critical thinking
  • Virtue epistemology
  • Cartesian metaphysics
Person as Subject
  • Montmarquet, James

(30 min Conference Paper, English)