Jour Fixe: "Critical Thinking in Education and Research – Why and How?" (1)

Tuesday, 29. January 2019
15:15 – 16:45

Y 326

Gerd Folkers (Professor of Science Studies, ETH Zürich)

“Critical thinking in science” – isn’t this expression a mere tautology? Science, it seems, is always about critical reflection, is always about inquiring and questioning things rather than taking them simply at face value. But perhaps this is just an ideal? Daily practices may often look very different. There are numerous constraints such as economic needs, funding and time limits, peer pressure, and ethical concerns. These constraints often discourage efforts to critically assess the scientific methods employed, the concepts presupposed, and the conclusions drawn. What we mean by “critical” or “criticism” is the opposite of what might be called “dogmatism” in the sense of using (without questioning) a fixed set of methods, concepts, exemplars, and thereby losing the ability to view things from a distance and from different angles. This raises the question, wether in the existing economy driven system of science production, interest and space can be found to „reload“ critical thinking.

(1) Norman Sieroka, Vivianne I. Otto and Gerd Folkers, Angewandte Chemie (in press)