Why Be Critical?
On this account it would not be correct to say that morality, in the dispositional sense, is a necessary condition of rationality, since not all problems are moral problems. One could be fully rational outside the moral realm, yet be fully irrational within that realm. One could also conceivably be rational only within the moral realm, that is, think critically only about moral problems, and be entirely irrational in other matters. Hence a generally irrational person could, logically, be a moral person, although this seems, empirically, an unlikely combination.
If this is correct, and if morality itself, that is, morally good action, is desirable, then the ability to think critically in moral problems would be justified as a necessary condition of morality. This is so because it is critical thinking that enables one to solve particular moral-realm problems.
Similarly, outside the moral realm, rationality can be justified pragmatically, in the Deweyan sense, as the tendency to employ the means by which one is able to solve problems, rather than merely self-justifying, as Siegel claims. And critical thinking would thus be justified as an instrumental value, the activity necessary to achieve desired ends, including the generally desired ends that such achievement not lead to disastrous consequences.
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- Why Be Critical?
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