Portugal - A proposal on how to inspire philosophizing
Carlos Reis, University of Coimbra, CEIS20, firstname.lastname@example.org, et Maria Formosinho,
University of Coimbra, CEIS20, email@example.com.
We start by discussing philosophy as being the art of attuning life through
reflected examination, in order to achieve an accord between the saying and the
being, which expresses the concern of taking care of one's own self. This brings us
to envisage philosophy as thinking for oneself, as engaging in one's own problems
that may arise in facing life, reading texts or admiring art, while looking at things
as if it was for the first time and introducing new meanings by creating new
Such a conception entails a shift regarding philosophical education, which has to be
understood and defined not as a straightforward increase in some well-known entity
called 'knowledge', but rather as a journey of the soul; meaning we should not focus
on teaching what philosophers have said but on the problematics they have raised.
Such an endeavour claims for an accordant process of inspiring philosophising, which
always implies a critical mode of approach. Our proposal sequences the process by
starting with focusing in problematics, considered as a motivational ground, for
being developed by encouraging it with a sort of tasks, considered as congruent,
suggestive and motivational, to end up achieving personal philosophising, that can
produce an integration of logical-conceptual networks as well as of functionally
structured subject areas.
The afore-mentioned issues take us to discuss the concept of competence, as a
complex "ability to mobilise and deploy relevant psychological resources (i.e.
values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and/or understanding) in order to respond
appropriately and effectively to the demands, challenges and opportunities" (Council
of Europe, 2016, 23-24). So, we conclude by trying to show how a philosophical
education ought to inspire what we tried to present as the core of philosophising:
concepts creation through critical thinking (which is also defined). Philosophical
competences that allow and support such desideratum are then presented.
I) Philosophising or "How the Philosopher killed the Sage"
The "historical method" used to teach philosophy has been discussed and criticized
recurrently until it turned to be a never ending story of the deaf. Although, since
its burst in Ancient Greece, philosophy has always been a question of embarking in a
way of life, a question of an examined life (Plato, Apology, 38a5-6) or, as Foucault
(1999) exposes it, a question of taking care of oneself (epimeleia
heautou), thus conveying an accordance between the saying (logos) and
the being (bios)1. Not surprisingly did Deleuze and Guattari
(1994) declare that, as the art of looking at things as if it was for the first time
and creatively inserting new meanings into life, philosophy (the friendship of
wisdom) represents the killing of the Sage (the one who arrogates to own wisdom).
Such archaeological approach discovers that after all, until late XIII century,
philosophy was not an erudite practice of producing treatises, but rather an
existential option of perseveringly search for the love of wisdom, while envisaging
living accordingly to it (Hadot, 1995).
The famous admonishing from Kant about the practice of leading students to learn
about renown authors and doctrines that could not correspond to philosophizing but to
a mere historical knowledge about philosophy, expresses the recovery of the tradition
very congruent to the principle of "daring to think by oneself", that was at
Enlightenment's core. For Kant "it is not thoughts but thinking which the
understanding ought to learn. The understanding ought to be led, if you wish, but not
carried, so that in future it will be capable of walking on its own, and doing so
without stumbling." (ap. Belas & Zakutna, 2016, 32). In such case, as Deleuze
& Guattari (1994) have noticed, we have only reviews of solutions without knowing
what the problems are. Thus, "when they do not let us produce our own questions, with
elements coming from anywhere, if they already state them ready, we will not have
much to say". Through this we may, at best, learn what one thought, but without
knowing why he thought it. This is why, the authors warn, we must be very wary of the
concepts we do not create.
When Kant explains that there could be no book stating "look, here is wisdom or
knowledge you can rely on" (ap. Belas & Zakutna, 2016, 32)2,
he is not far from Deleuze, when he declares that "the truths of philosophy are
lacking in necessity and the mark of necessity. As a matter of fact, the truth is not
revealed, it is betrayed; it is not communicated, it is interpreted; it is not
willed, it is involuntary" (2000, 95). In our point of view, in this sense, truths
are not in the philosophical texts, not because they could not be found there, but
because the question is, precisely, that the "finding" cannot be attained if we are
simply not "looking for it". At the basis of our relation with the text we do not
have a necessity, a desire or an interest, neither a hint of the circumstances of its
creation. Which is, according to Deleuze & Guattari (1994), what must be at the
base of the art of philosophy understood as the creation of concepts. Texts always
constitute a defiance to retake the once thought, consisting in a repetition waiting
for an inflection, the introduction of a difference, thus operating a kind of theft,
which does not correspond to imitation. Texts require, from a philosophical attitude
standpoint, the same that world claims: a constant attention to the present; a
looking into as if it was for the first time, in order to (re)prospect, (re)learn,
(re)signify the world and the lived. In any case it is not a question of intuiting
from nothing, but rather of articulating concepts and of creating new
We came to the point, where it becomes clear that the previous expertise selection
some authors and doctrines followed by a proficient presentation of such assortment
could guarantee that the addressees will philosophize. Moreover, as Boyum (2010)
explains, philosophical education does not turn out to be merely cognitive or
intellectual, simply conveying a knowledge increase -although it is expected that
this will also happen-, because it implies a transformation, a change of attitude and
character, a transformation of the individual, a kind of conversion, though different
people may reach different destinations, having different experiences and attaining
different results. Philosophy cannot be taught, because it is never in fact
completed, it can only be learned by personal experience, "a philosophical education
cannot be defined as a straightforward increase in some well-known entity called
'knowledge', but is cast as a journey of the soul" (Boyum, 2010, 558).
As we have above suggested it seems impossible to philosophise without becoming
involved in a critical thinking process. Although it should be expected that such
process results from a long term unfolding, like "a quest of the soul" through which
a dispositional competence is acquired. A commonly quoted definition of critical
thinking comes from Michael Scriven & Richard Paul (1987, ap. The Foundation for
Critical Thinking, 2016), which states that
"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and
skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating
information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection,
reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary
form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter
divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence,
good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit
in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts;
empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and
consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of
As we can infer from the last paragraph critical thinking is of a second ranking
order of thought: a metacognition process. By doing so, "skilfully taking charge of
the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them",
one compromises in improving one's own patterns of thought as well as achieves
autonomy of thinking,
"according to which spirit imposes itself its own law (nomos); thinking is its
own ground thus managing each step it makes [...] This principle is decisive,
since it implies that it is allowed to the one who things to get away from the
facts, it allows him/her to make a distance, necessary for examination, analysis
and evaluation, meaning that it is possible to criticize when needed, i.e. it
prevents us to, due to brutal evidence of reality capitulate. In short: the
principle of independence is an absolute condition for the effects of autonomy
to be manifested" (Gojkov, Stojanovic, Rajic, 2014).
Therefore, critical thinking requires the individual to be free from the ego and
social centric ways of approaching subjects. However, on this matter, a human atavism
is widely recognized: when left to itself human thought often tends to establish
beliefs without questioning, or rather, tends to uncritically assume those absorbed
from an established social-cultural identity. Among the most common mechanisms of
producing deceiving beliefs, we can distinguish prejudice, hasty generalization,
fallacies, self-deception (rationalization and "wishful thinking") and narrow
As main consequences of these processes, we produce errors, misconceptions, and
distortions. In fact, the world is full of uncritical persons that
"have been socially conditioned (indoctrinated) into their beliefs. They are
unreflective thinkers. Their minds are products of social and personal forces
they neither understand, control, nor concern themselves with. Their personal
beliefs are often based in prejudices. Their thinking is largely comprised of
stereotypes, caricatures, oversimplifications, sweeping generalizations,
illusions, delusions, rationalizations, false dilemmas, and begged questions.
Their motivations are often traceable to irrational fears and attachments,
personal vanity and envy, intellectual arrogance and simple-mindedness. These
constructs have become a part of their identity" (Paul & Elder, 2006a,
Critical Thinking must be applied with sensitivity to the elements of thought -v.g.,
questions at issue, information interpretations and inferences, concepts,
assumptions, implications and consequences, viewpoints, purposes-, while following
some standards: clarity (by elaborating or exemplifying); accuracy (by checking and
verifying); precision (by being specific, detailing and exact); relevance (by
ascertain relations and implications); depth (by considering the difficulties and
complexity); breath (by considering alternative viewpoints); significance
(considering the importance or centrality); logic (by verifying coherence); fairness
(by avoiding vested interests). The whole process of unfolding critical thinking
could be represented as follows
As an autonomous way of thinking, CT includes a set of competences that we have
deduced by comparing the proposals of Kurland (2016), Olin (2015) and Paul &
Elder (2006b) (Vd. Figure 1).
Figure 1: Critical Thinking competences
Finally, it must be noticed that critical thinking, and the above discussed,
creation of concepts refer mutually to each other: to create a concept one must
produce a kind of "robbery", which introduces a deviation of meaning that expresses
the subject's genuine relation to the problem he lives. This means that the subject
takes a fresh look at the world -at life itself-, which can only happen through a
critical approach. Conversely, critical thinking is always responsible for initiating
a dynamic that inevitably leads to a creative movement through which, at large, the
subject can give way to a personal and original concept creation.
II) Inspiring to philosophise or "The encounter with the Cheshire
It can, sometimes, make much difference to know where we want to get to for the
purpose of choosing the path. This may be crucial, not so much due to the length of
the trail, but because the very journey could be the most important, especially if
the steps are determinant to the whole. When it comes to teaching to philosophise,
this means that we need to find the adequate didactic paths, congruent to the
understanding of the educational purpose above presented; a pedagogical dynamic that
focuses on education in a way that allows to really induce philosophical activity in
itself. A similar challenge has been continuously and consistently addressed by
Boavida (1991; 2010), who proposed an operative didactic established on philosophical
grounds for the teaching of philosophy, by relying on, in the line of Kant (1985),
that such task refers to teach to philosophize and not to the mere transmission of
knowledge. Firstly, because transmission of knowledge does not guarantee
per se that one learns to philosophize -which is here the
essential and critical end or "t????"-; secondly because, in regard to philosophy,
personal experience -being in itself non-transferable- can only be induced through a
living process that takes the learner to a new dimension which allows him/her to
achieve a new kind of competence.
So being, we must come to the conclusion that philosophy can be taught by simple
transmission of content as neither virtue by prescription. Teaching philosophy is to
introduce the learner to a personal process that the term etymologically expresses by
itself: the love of learning, a search that can only be deployed by a
zetetic3 mode, as Kant himself had proposed, saying that
the text should not serve as a judgment model but as an opportunity for everyone
attempting to pronounce a judgment on it (ap. Boavida, 2010, 127-128).
We are so bound to an approach in which the very philosophical activity is the heart
and the function of teaching philosophy. An approach in which the meaning of a
philosophical education is envisaged in the wake of what Boyum (2010) defines as a
type of growth or transformation that philosophical reflection can and should induce:
namely, the effects or consequences as well as the emerging significance by and
through which the process of learning to philosophize unfolds, that is, the intrinsic
aspects of a philosophical education that cannot be obtained by other means. In such
a case, we assume that a philosophical education would be internally related to the
very nature of the philosophical activity. Thus expecting that a set of competencies
is developed by the process of philosophical education, which can not correspond to
anything else than the very commitment to learning how to philosophize. Hence it does
not imply giving the learners some ready-made problems to be discussed, on the
contrary, it entails grounding the problems in the soil from where the dynamic that
supports them emerges and guides a personal elaboration the learner has to
Our proposal is that philosophical didactics, while consisting in a task of teaching
to philosophize and not a simple acquisition of knowledge, ought to take
"problematics" themselves as a starting point, meaning the activation of the learning
process. It assumes that a certain sequence of tasks can induce philosophizing.
Consequently, though, contents will be instrumentally requested to feed the process;
they will not appear the answers without the questions but as the trails to be
experienced, the trails where a smile can pop out from a tree, materializing a
Cheshire cat, which is not every cat...
This sequence calls for a diverse set of methodologies, but within it direct trade
with the philosophical texts must always intervene. As Deleuze and Guattari (1994)
stressed, the already thought must be recovered, as nobody produces anything out of
nothing. Among the various methodological possibilities, and not forgetting the
pedagogical-didactic sequence, we highlight the following: 1. Viewing and/or reading
information items (movies, news and a variety of programs); 2. Interactive Lecture;
3. Research as individual field work or in small groups; 4. Individual and/or
collective reading; 5. Group work; 6. Debate; 7. Demonstrations (argumentative,
factual, experimental or even artistical); 8. Problem-based work; 9. Project-based
The viewing/reading of pieces of information that may serve to set the tone for a
problem, taking advantage of its sensitizing and motivating value, may also appear at
the end of the sequence to request a problematical conceptualization, at this point
well informed, thus giving step to the arguments of structured debate. Take the case
of the recent movie entitled "That's what I am", directed by Michael Pavone, in which
the meaning and nature of the educational process are poignantly related to the youth
The very interactive lecture, that combines exposure with a dynamic of questions and
answers, pledge activation of students, may intervene in relation to a strategic
framework, but also to supplement a theming or a search. This means that we continue
to recognize the importance of the "lectio", while not in the simple sense of an
effective transmission through neutral words that can be understood by all in the
same way, but rather as an inspiring conversation, in itself necessarily inspired:
"words inspired to capture the attention and mobilize the gaze "(Vansieleghem &
Masschelein, 2012, 97). Which brings us to a kind of conversation that, by its very
nature, invites the other to interlocutory action, meaning an educational design
framed as an invitation to talk, or to make use of one's own voice. The debate, in
particular, may appear following an individual or group work which gave the
opportunity to adduce information, view points, and arguments, but may also arise as
an epilogue for confronting the motions of a well-travelled problematic.
Alternatively, one can, for example, propose that each group expresses their
perspective through a performance, leaving the exploration then to the large group,
or, if such is the option, to invite a critical interpretive essay. We recall here
the criticism made by Tozzi (2008, 2) to its own didactic approach:
"Our model is part of a rationalist Western
tradition-oriented to the learning of 'thought process', rather than to, for
instance, practical ethics (such as in Belgium), or the ancient oriental art of
living; inspired by a Cartesian perspective rather than modern hermeneutics or
the linguistic turn. It's pretty suspicious vis-à-vis the emotions inscribed in
the body, which are seen as obstacles to reflection. Now the Belgian
non-confessional ethics course has taught us that reason, and the wider sense
culture, did not protect us from barbarism, as the sensitivity
(which recognizes the 'face of the other', as Levinas says) and
imagination could be the breeding ground of a reflexive resumption (hence our
current focus on literature or myths as supports for reflection). We have
didactically articulated a rationalist reflection useful by its rigor
with a broader and global existential depth rather than just
Overall, the process can, of course, be contextualized within a project leading to a
thematic exhibition, with the preparation of an enriched catalog produced by
problematizations and the respective argumentative and/or factual statements.
Between the starting points -the problematics- and the arrival point -the expected
learning outcomes, which in this case should be the competence to philosophize
expressed by possible personal proposals contextually informed- a path is extended
opening to a multiplicity of individual routes, possible to be typified in their
The initiator element is, therefore, the problematic that in order to fulfill its
function must respond to some requirements: to be open enough to be philosophical and
challenging; to be clear; to be suitable; to be significant, and motivating4 ; and it is not to be forgotten that, most specifically, all
this can only be set for concrete learners .
Document (format PDF) : Figure 2
The underlying prerequisite of the problematic situation is to be able to stimulate
the achievement of the objectives "conditioned by the philosophical activity and the
requirements it imposes. So, the goals' definition is prevented from being specified
from outside the philosophical process. Rather it must be intrinsic to the
philosophical quest and the conditions it demands" (Boavida, 2010, 166-167).
It is now of crucial importance to elucidate what are the conditions correspondent
to the general objectives of philosophising, as well as the core competencies of such
activity could be. Tozzi, (2008) has proposed three basic "capacities"5, or interdependent processes of thought specific of
- To be able to philosophically problematize a notion or a question;
- To be able to philosophically conceptualize an issue or an idea and make
distinctions between them;
- To be able to philosophically argue a thesis or an objection.
But as Tozzi himself (2008) comes to recognize, the educational model lacked a
"relativization" under several orders of reasons, among which he highlights the
rationalistic nature of the approach -not didactically addressing the affective
domain-, as well as the limitations, that we must add, inherent to the capacities's
conception, to be further analysed. In our view, this is exactly what Boavida (2010)
has taken further, by acutely explaining the set of general objectives entailed by
the philosophising process. After analysing the distinctive notes of philosophising,
the author lists in a summary table the corresponding general objectives (for the
intellectual, emotional and expressive domains) regarding the sui
generis praxis to be induced (Cf. Figure 4).
We should now face the problem of the nomenclature proliferation: we see that some
author refers to objectives, other to capacities and, more recently to skills and
After an intense and prolific debate, near the end of the last century, that made
competence a popular issue within the business world, the concept was then
transferred to the educational domain under the influence of the so-called managerial
trend. According to Durand (1998), the use of the concept, initially relied upon a
"resource-based view" and lead to a "knowledge-based approach" that in turn motivated
a theory of "competence-based strategy". However, at that time the term competence
was simply being used to enlarge the concept of resource without really dissipating
its blatant equivocity; although the author foresees that competences can give a
substantially contribute if the resource-based view is transcended7.
However, problems immediately arise from the author statement of having borrowed
from educational research the concepts of knowledge,
know-how and attitudes as the three
key constitutive elements of competences, while then referring to them as the three
generic forms of competences, or the three categories of competence, which he figures
as being competence's interdependent dimensions, as well as the generic axes of the
competence referential. Such amphibological discourse opens up a perplexity never
clearly resolved by the author's discussion.
Durand defines the three dimensions or generic axes of the competence referential as
"Knowledge corresponds to the structured sets of assimilated information which
make it possible to understand the world, obviously with partial and somewhat
contradictory interpretations. Knowledge thus encompasses the access to data,
the ability to enact them into acceptable information and to integrate them into
pre-existing schemes which obviously evolve along the way8.
Know-how relates to the ability to act in a concrete way according to
predefined objectives or processes. Know-how does not exclude knowledge but does
not necessitate a full understanding of why the skills and capabilities, when
put to operations, actually work. Know-how thus in part relates to empiricism
Attitudes are too often neglected in the resource-based view as well as in the
competence-based theory of the firm. This may be due to the traditional lack of
interest of economists in behavioural and social aspects. We believe that
behaviour but even more so identity and will (determination) are an essential
part of the capability of an individual or an organization to achieve anything.
This is a matter of choice in defining concepts. We argue that a dedicated
organization, eager to succeed, is more competent than a demoralized, passive
one with exactly the same knowledge and know-how." (Durand, 1998, 21-22)
The main achievement of Durand's work is, in our point of view, to have produced an
integrative perspective of interdependent competence's dimensions which gains
clarification with the following representation10.
Figure 3: Enriching the three basic categories of competence
(Adapted from Durand, 1998)
Relying on a Piagetian approach, Durand (1998, 33) stresses that "Knowledge and
know-how are in fact built simultaneously as learning needs action." [Morevor, he
extrapolates that] learning actually takes place in organizations simultaneously for
the three generic dimensions [...] This happens, in parallel but in an interrelated
mode, through exposure to external data, action and interaction." Therefore, we have
to acknowledge that the author advances within a constructive practical and
psychosocial framework for describing the learning process. Such idea will become
clearer when his understanding of the role action and interaction plays in learning
While skills refer to tacit know-how -understood as a composite dimension-,
competences are the result of a confluence between knowledge, know-how and attitudes.
Therefore, one must keep in mind that the three dimensions of competences are to be
taken as interdependent: there is no learning (knowledge building) without action;
all know-how is vulnerable without knowledge; know-how cannot be built without a
social context where attitudes play a significant role; knowledge is sterile without
being embodied in attitudes; as attitudes are useless without meaning and know-how
for action. Expertise can then emerge by transcendently combining the three generic
dimensions into an integrated higher level of competence:
experts understand, can explain why they perform as they do and perform with
state-of-the-art ability, going beyond simple assimilation.
The author takes further the enrichment of the three dimensions by, for instance,
incorporating motivation in the attitudes category and referring to "identity (the
shared values, rites, taboos and beliefs) [as] operating as a cement holding the
organizational pieces together at least as efficiently as any other coordinating and
integrating mechanism" (Durand, 1998, 29).
One cannot miss that Durand's approach was crafted for companies' strategic
management; that is why his definition of competence consists of "an organizational
alchemy" that describes the "capabilities to combine, bundle and integrate resources
into products and services" (1998, 2), through operations and management processes
that eventually guarantee "a potentially significant and sustainable competitive
We cannot follow such "managerial" conceptualization all the way, although we
recognize in it an insightful approach to establish a theoretical grounding regarding
an active didactic for philosophising. On the negative side, it is evident that the
purpose of the model is inextricably compromised with a companies' strategic based
focus, missing the incorporations required by philosophising; secondly the know-how
dimension is biased in such a way we cannot, for instance, find the cognitive
processes integrated by Bloom's Taxonomy (De Landsheere & De Landsheere, 1977),
meaning that Durand oversimplifies the knowledge competence and the same could be
said about know-how. On the positive side, it is true he deploys three interdependent
and integrative dimensions of the learning processes; produces a reasoning
explanation of its acquisition sequence; and offers a framework to understand complex
learning objectives we can now put under the concept of competences.
Nevertheless, a reframed approach is possible and even necessary if we want to shake
off the "managerial" corset that originally grounded the proposal. In order to go
further we will draw on the definition recently presented by the Council of Europe
(2016), for its project entitled "Competences for democratic culture: Living together
as equals in culturally diverse democratic societies". Aside the specific domain that
the model wants to address, which maintains close connections to our subject, it
provides a twofold definition of competence understood as "the ability to meet
complex demands within a given context" (Council of Europe, 2016, 23-24), which we
found very insightful and inspiring for our purposes:
"Competence is the ability to mobilise and deploy relevant psychological
resources (i.e. values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and/or understanding) in
order to respond appropriately and effectively to the demands, challenges and
opportunities [...] The present model treats competence as a dynamic process.
This is because competence involves the selection, activation, organisation and
co-ordination of relevant psychological resources which are then applied through
behaviour in such a way that the individual adapts appropriately and effectively
to a given situation. [...] In addition to this global and holistic use of the
term "competence" (in the singular), the term "competences" (in the plural) is
used in the current account to refer to the specific individual resources (i.e.
the specific values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding) that are
mobilised and deployed in the production of competent behaviour. Hence, on the
present account, competence consists of the selection, activation and
organisation of competences and the application of these competences in a
co-ordinated, adaptive and dynamic manner to concrete situations." (Council of
Europe, 2016, 23-24).
The twenty competences, resulting from a long sieving and refining process, are
summarised in the following Figure.
Figure 4 : The 20 "Competences for democratic culture"
(Council of Europe, 2016, 35)
At a first glance there remains no doubt that the requirements of interconnectedness
between the dimensions, as well as the reference to "competence" and "competences"
and the dynamic way of their acquisition are common to Durand's Model. However, there
are also very striking differences: a new category termed "values" is proposed; and
Durand's knowledge category is now labelled as "Knowledge and critical
Such a dynamic approach evokes an underlying model that seems to assume a holistic
competence understanding based on other competences from different nature: as
skills and knowledge and
critical thinking. This takes us to assume that the author
regards competences as complex and high level forms of proceeding, in different
realms, possibly also leaning in other middle or low level modes of the same realm
and level. Thus, what we discern here is a network of competences that mutually
support each other. Such theoretical framework seems possible to advocate since
complex competences could not be understood as insulated dynamics, but rather as
interconnected active "meta-neurons", forming constellations or clusters, depending
on a subjective activation elicited by a given situation (problematic).
However, a perplexity emerges instantly from the reference to skills as competences
and vice-versa; an ambiguity which is not congruent with Durand's theory, where
know-how outranks skills, being of higher complex order while the later standing for
a conditional prior phase of the former's acquisition. Another perplexity arises from
the fact that the model includes critical thinking in the skills domain while
advancing a different dimension termed "knowledge and critical understanding". We
have no problem in admitting some critical thinking conditional competences, as
intermediate tasks supporting the higher order process of critical thinking. However,
it is difficult to reduce critical thinking to the skill level and at the same time
merging it with knowledge, which could, obviously, be critical if produced by
critical thinking processes. It must be recalled here that skills stand for tacit
know-how, something that cannot ever be admitted for critical thinking, without
risking a paradox similar to saying a train is autonomously conducted when running in
computer mode. Besides, as above mentioned, critical thinking requires self-knowledge
and reflexivity as supporting competences. One last remark needs to be made in
relation to the inconsistent distribution of the elements included in each category.
So being we will essay a complete reformulation on how to address the contradictory,
inconsistent, and amphibological issue of capabilities, objectives, skills and
competences, while trying on the way to launch a didactical framework for
With two of the dimensions already defined, and the remaining at least identified,
the time has come for critically composing our own Competences' Trefoil (vd. Figure
5), taking for support the Model presented by the Council of Europe (2016), combined
with Durand's (1998), Boavida's (2010) and Anderson's et al. (2001) contributions. In
Figure 5, we present, for philosophy, a framework upraised in order to include the
four categories devised so far: knowledge, cognitive processes, attitudes and values.
The two last dimensions still need to be commented, while the first two are to be
filled in with the twofold Bloom's Revised Taxonomy from Anderson et al. (2002).
In relation to the knowledge and cognitive processes dimensions, one could ask what
about the items listed by Boavida (2010). Checking one by one it could be verified
they were all covered by the introduced revised taxonomies.
Now, concerning attitudes and values we have to present some considerations. The
first one is common to both categories, but it pertains originally to values. In our
view, values ??are intensively and extensively unlimited. If we cannot exhaust
completely the meaning of a higher value it is also true that one cannot provide the
complete and definitive list of values ??(Cabanas 1988); such audacity could even be
considered an attack on human creativity as it implies arbitrarily limiting the
possibility of producing new values. A person's set of values can be outlined ??based
on the knowledge that a human being can have of them: a certain group can be defined
as the constellation of personal values, encompassing those, we might say, are
commonly known and that a given subject also knows them personally; the second group
corresponds to the values ??that are known within certain socio-cultural contexts,
but may not be known by certain individuals who integrate the referred contexts;
finally, the third group corresponding to the subset awaiting to be brought into
existence, depending on human creativity.
Regarding attitudes, we want to advance the provisional hypothesis that is also
impossible to fix their complete and definitive set. Such a statement can be inferred
from the facts that they relate to values, through their evaluative component and
that the number of objects and subjects are potentially infinite.
Fur our purpose a selection must be exercised over the "galaxy" of possibilities one
may imagine, however it should be taken in consideration that our subject imposes at
least some priorities that are empirically or theoretically derived. When we say
"empirically" we mean we are relying on the good reasons that philosophical tradition
has endowed us along the centuries. For example, it is visible that the competences
referred by Plato and Aristotle, namely curiosity and astonishment or wonder are
included in our Competences' Trefoil. Besides, the four categories of competences
could be seen as the required conditions that can support the learner's self-lifting
-while grounded on a set of suitable and challenging activities- to the stance of
facing all thinking from the point of view of the Heideggerian radical question about
"Being and Nothing". A stance from where the neophyte can start a personal journey of
critically creating the concepts related to the problems raised by the dynamics of
As to Boavida's (2010) "taxonomy" of general objectives, we have kept some of his
suggestions, while introducing the above-mentioned reformulation. Regarding
theorization and frameworking we envisage them as creative cognitive processes.
Problematizing is a kind of complexification, or vice-versa, and are both attitudes
related to analyzing, evaluating and creating, which entail reflexivity11 as a general attitude that has its parallel at the metacognive
category of the knowledge domain. Finally, in respect to the expressive12 general competences we insert them as manifest correlates of
creative intellectual processes and we envisage the arguing competence13 as embodied in logicalness, theorization, frameworking and other
cognitive competences14 where the arguing process plays its
part. Under the Anderson, Krathwohl and colleagues (2001) approach, we contemplate
arguing along the ladder of the cognitive processes, depending on the depth and/or
breadth of the issue taken into consideration. It can represent recalling a set of
arguments, demonstrating one's understanding by enumerating the reasons that underpin
a certain perspective, applying arguments to a given case, identifying the arguments
and/or arguing process of a given discourse, evaluating the arguments and/or of a
given discourse, creating arguments and/or an arguing process while producing an
original approach to an issue. In fact, arguments and arguing processes could the
subjects of philosophical didactic plans, as we have above foreseen them.
Figure 5 : General and nuclear competences for
philosophising (Inspired upon the Council of Europe, 2016; Boavida, 2010;
As to the standards and traits, of Critical Thinking, that Paul and Elder (2006b)
predicate, we can find them distributed among the different competences, depending on
the domain to which, we feel, they belong. For instance, Depth and Breath are
respectively contemplated in problematizing/complexifying and being openmindedness,
which in turn always requires some sort of empathy and tolerance.
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Into Practice, 41(4): 212-218.
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Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of
EducationalObjectives. New York: Longman.
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teaching philosophy. Studia Kantiana, 14(21): 27-36.
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ensaios. Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de
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Concepción antinómica de la educación. Madrid:
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Accessed at http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/Source/competences/competences-for-democratic-culture_en.pdf
- De Landsheere, G. & De Landsheere, V. (1977). On defining
educational objectives. Oxford: Pergamon.
- Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1994). What is
philosophy? New York: Columbia University Press.
- Deleuze, G. (2000). Proust and signs- The complete text. Minneapolis: University of
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Prahalad, H. Thomas & D. O'Neal. Strategic flexibility: Managing in a
turbulent environment (pp. 301-330). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons
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Discourse and Truth: the Problematization of
Parrhesia. Digital Archive: Foucault. Accessed at http://foucault.info/doc/documents/parrhesia/foucaultdt5-techniquesparrhesia-en-html
- Gojkov, G., Stojanovic, A. & Rajic, A. G (2014). Critical Thinking Of
Students - Indicator Of Quality In Higher Education. Procedia - Social
and Behavioral Sciences, 191: 591-596.
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(trans.). Boston: Beacon.
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Action.Vol. II:Lifeworld and System, T. McCarthy (trans.). Boston:
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Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. London:
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Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
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Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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trickery and manipulation. The Foundation for Critical Thinking/
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(1) In so being it corresponds also to an act of parrhesia, in this case, towards,
(2) In another text Kant says that there "not even the slightest degree of wisdom
can be poured into a man by others; rather he must bring it forth from himself."
(3) Proceeding by inquiry.
(4) We would like to stress here that the tasks must also possess an equal
motivation power so as to feed the process dynamics, as well as to be congruent
with the outset problematics.
(5) Which could be taken, in our point of view, as nuclear competences. In fact,
Tozzi distinguishes philosophical competencies from the so-called capacities -a
denomination much more prone to substantialistic conceptions-, namely: reading;
writing; and conducting discussions of reflexive insight. On their part,
competencies would correspond to the "forms of articulating, within the unity
and movement of a kind of thought impregnated by a report to meaning and truth,
the basic capabilities through complex tasks: 1. ofreading; 2. of writing; 3. and
of discussion under a reflexive insight" (Tozzi, 2008,
p. 1). In our point of view, such competences seem more activities, or
propaedeutic competencies required by -but not especially- philosophy.
Furthermore no sound reason are given in order to distinguish between what is
labelled as capacity and competence, meaning they could all be termed by both
substantives. Finally, not only Tozzi recognizes that the concept of competence
has evolved towards a non-reductionist, non-mechanistic, and non-prescriptive
understanding, safe from risking to preclude creativity and autonomous
philosophising, as he also draws on the concept and comes to recognized its
operability under several conditions, namely the safeguarding of a dialogic
combination of deterministic procedures and random processes. This is precisely
what we envisage with the proposed didactical approach based on problematics,
where competencies appear as components eventually developed through open and
(6) Deemed to be transversal to philosophical initiation programmes, within which
they would support the development of precise exercises.
(7) Still, one must keep in mind that the developing of such a new conceptual
model relates to a competence based theory of the firm, i.e., the management
context and purpose.
(8) We can accept the late statement, as long as it is supposed to be a result of
intellectual processes, meaning, and the deployment of intellectual competences
or know-how: it is not expected that data enact all by itself into acceptable
information and the later integrates all by itself into pre-existing schemes. In
fact, the very reference to the "ability to" denounces the required underlying
cognitive activity. We shall comeback to this issue later on.
(9) Here Durand is referring to a specific level of Know-how, the simple doing and
skills, which rely in tacit knowledge. Skill means I can do it based on tacit
ability, on the contrary know-how means "I know how to do it, I can do it and I
can show how to do it to someone else". We infer from Durand's explanation that
all know-how could have passed through a tacit phase corresponding to a
skillfulness way of performing, either physically, manually or intellectually.
It is also important to notice here that know-how does not necessarily pertains
psychomotor or mechanical processes, they can also be related to cognitive
(10) One must notice that "identity" stands here for "the shared vision and
organizational structure" (Durand, 1998, p. 35), in fact, according to Durand
"Shared values, beliefs, rites and taboos are symptoms of the identity" (Durand,
1998, p. 12).
(11) Reflexivity is the attitude of being actively weighted towards what ones' own
thinking or doing as well as towards a given statement, behavior or
(12) Verbal or aesthetic.
(13) Purported by Tozzi et al. (1992).
(14) Which could not be split from the affective and axiological domains, without
risking a Cartesian dualism. We can find here a homology with the Cartesian
dualistic relationship between body and soul -res extensa
and res cogitans- in which spirit appears as something that
does not belong to the bodily machine, for they supposedly entertain a merely
transitory relationship, given their absolutely distinctive type of res, i.e.,
their ontological distinctiveness (Koestler, 1967). Such an approach disregards
that minds are partly constructed in the pragmatic affairs of life (Habermas,
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