Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 94–102 | Cite as

Critical thinking and the danger of intellectual conformity

  • Kerry S. Walters


Critical thinking is becoming an essential ingredient in college and university curricula. Its stated goals are to foster critical ability and broad-mindedness, on both the conceptual and the social level. But an overemphasis of its reductionistic method can lead to results which are antithetical to its aims. Methodologically, it tends to encourage absolutism; psychologically, its exclusive rule orientation promotes passivity; and practically, its imperial rejection of nonanalytical methods breeds intolerance. Together, these three effects lead to a fetish-like regard for intellectual and social conformity, and an accompanying fear of eccentricity. The conclusion is that the present lopsided concentration on critical thinking's reductionism should be balanced with the teaching of alternative approaches to the understanding of knowledge and reality.


Social Psychology Critical Thinking Reductionistic Method Cross Cultural Psychology Stated Goal 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry S. Walters

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