Education’s epistemology: Rationality, diversity, and critical thinking

Research output: Book/ReportBook

22 Scopus citations


This collection extends and further defends the “reasons conception” of critical thinking that Harvey Siegel has articulated and defended over the last three-plus decades. This conception analyzes and emphasizes both the epistemic quality of candidate beliefs, and the dispositions and character traits that constitute the “critical spirit”, that are central to a proper account of critical thinking; argues that epistemic quality must be understood ultimately in terms of epistemic rationality; defends a conception of rationality that involves both rules and judgment; and argues that critical thinking has normative value over and above its instrumental tie to truth. Siegel also argues, contrary to currently popular multiculturalist thought, for both transcultural and universal philosophical ideals, including those of multiculturalism and critical thinking themselves. Over seventeen chapters, Siegel makes the case for regarding critical thinking, or the cultivation of rationality, as a preeminent educational ideal, and the fostering of it as a fundamental educational aim. A wide range of alternative views are critically examined. Important related topics, including indoctrination, moral education, open-mindedness, testimony, epistemological diversity, and cultural difference are treated. The result is a systematic account and defense of critical thinking, an educational ideal widely proclaimed but seldom submitted to critical scrutiny itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages298
ISBN (Electronic)9780190682675
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural diversity
  • Education
  • Epistemic diversity
  • Epistemology
  • Indoctrination
  • Philosophy of education
  • Rationality
  • Reasons
  • Universal ideals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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