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Education's EpistemologyRationality, Diversity, and Critical Thinking$
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Harvey Siegel

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190682675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190682675.001.0001

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What (Good) Are Thinking Dispositions?

What (Good) Are Thinking Dispositions?

(p.49) 4 What (Good) Are Thinking Dispositions?
Education's Epistemology

Harvey Siegel

Oxford University Press

Recent work on critical thinking and related matters, by philosophers, psychologists, and other educational scholars, has made free use of the notion of thinking dispositions. What are thinking dispositions? In this paper I offer an account of them, according to which thinking dispositions are properties of thinkers: general tendencies, propensities, or inclinations to think in particular ways in particular circumstances. In developing this “realistic” account of dispositions, according to which dispositions are genuine properties of thinkers, I argue that thinking dispositions are neither equivalent nor reducible to rules or behaviors, and that they can be genuinely explanatory. I hope that by answering these philosophical questions concerning thinking dispositions it will be possible to appreciate more fully their proper place in educational theory and practice.

Keywords:   dispositions, entities, explanation, hypostatization, properties, W. V. Quine, reification, rules, thinking dispositions

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