Critical Thinking: A Socratic Dialogue

Critical thinking

Speaker A: How do you learn to think critically? We know how to think, don’t we?

Speaker B: Of course we do! Thinking is like breathing. It’s automatic. It’s a part of being human. We don’t need someone to teach us how to think, do we?

A: Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s think about it. Critical thinking means we just don’t accept what we hear or read. We check out the facts. We investigate. We read.

B: We talk to other people. Not just anybody, but experts who know what they are talking about.

A: Wait a minute. All that sounds like work. Furthermore, it’s very impractical. Imagine if I went around checking out the facts on everything that I read or was told.

B: Therefore, critical thinking is an illusion, too impractical for the real world.

A: Alright. So, if we have no time to think critically, then we have to trust people. Who do you trust?

B: That’s easy. I trust people who know what they are talking about. I trust experts.

A: Let’s think about that. We need an example. How about the education crisis in Chile? Have you heard about that?

B: Of course! The whole world has heard about what is happening in Chile. It’s time for a change. Chile needs non-profit education. No más lucro!

A: Where did you hear those slogans?

B: What slogans? I’m talking facts.

A: What facts?

B: Chie’s education is the most expensive in the world! It’s time for a change, now. Ahora! Any student will tell you these facts.

A: I see. The source for your facts is the students. Correct?

B: Yes, that’s correct. The students are right. Furthermore, they have the support of 80% of the Chilean population.

A: What source do you have for that fact? The students again?

B: No, it was in the newspaper the other day.

A: I see. Do you know there are approximately 16 million Chileans? 80% means approximately 13 million people support the students. Does that number seem to be a bit too high?

B: No. I’m sticking with what I read in the paper. You can trust the media to give you the facts. That’s their job, to give busy people like me the facts because I don’t have time to check for myself.

A: Let’s stop for a moment. I’m starting to get the picture.

B: What picture?

A: I’m sorry. What I meant to say is that people need to think for themselves. If we simply live our lives trusting what others tell us, and believing everything we read or hear in the media, then it is possible that we might find ourselves…

B: I got it. We might find ourselves…

A: What?

B: As I was saying, we might find ourselves believing something that isn’t true, or worse, acting on information that causes harm to come to someone.

A: What do you mean?

B: I mean take a look at Chile. Slogans everywhere, rhetoric everywhere, people in the streets, workers on strike, students marching, banging on pots and pans, hunger strikes, schools and universities closed down, destruction and death.

A: Yes, people have lost their lives, their businesses, and in some cases, even lost their hopes, dreams and aspirations.

B: Chaos.

A: Chaos.

B: Critical thinking is necessary.

A: I agree with you. Critical thinking is absolutely crucial these days. We are living in difficult times.

Speaker A & Speaker B: Now is the time for people to take time to think critically!

B: If we fail to do that, we can only expect more of what we already have right now.

A: More of the same, more CHAOS!

Speaker A and Speaker B: Critical thinking wins the day!

Enjoy the video below…

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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