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Pigliucci, Massimo

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hvg - Hungary | 28/04/2011

Massimo Pigliucci on the lack of critical minds

Fewer and fewer people are able to think critically, writes Italian philosopher Massimo Pigliucci in the left-liberal weekly Heti Világgazdaság, a failing he puts down to the shortcomings of our education systems: "On the one hand, we are constantly bombarded by expert opinion, by all sorts of people ... who tell us exactly what to think (though rarely why we should think it). On the other hand, most of us are woefully inadequate to practice the venerable and vital art of ... critical thinking, which is so necessary in modern society. ... We live in an era when knowledge - in the sense of information - is constantly available in real time through computers, smart phones, electronic tablets, and book readers. And yet we still lack the basic skills of reflecting on such information. ... Unfortunately, colleges, high schools, and even elementary schools are unlikely to mandate introductory courses in critical thinking on their own. Education has increasingly been transformed into a commodity system, in which the 'customers' (formerly students) are kept happy with personalized curricula while being prepared for the job market (rather than being prepared to be responsible human beings and citizens)."

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