Contemporary discussions of critical thinking lack serious consideration of students’ thinking-processes as phenomena embedded within the contexts of psychological and interpersonal relationships. This paper departs from past and present approaches to critical thinking pedagogy by analogizing thinking and critical thinking with forms of relating: to self, to others, to objects of thought, and to what we describe as “thinking-relationships.” The analogy of thinking with relating permits us to examine more closely the connections between self, psyche, student, teacher, and learning institution, and to apply valuable insights from the fields of social philosophy and psychoanalytic theory to critical thinking pedagogy and practice. This paper introduces the metaphor of critical thinking as relating to one’s thinking-relationships, explores the contexts in which such critical thinking-relationships are embedded, identifies hidden desires, defenses, and fantasies that may hinder the development of critical thinking, and concludes by reflecting upon the link between the ethical development of the person and the ideal of critical thinking.
Bowker, M. H., & Fazioli, K. (2016). Rethinking Critical Thinking: A Relational and Contextual Approach. Pedagogy and the Human Sciences, 6 (1), 1-26. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/phs/vol6/iss1/1