Date:  Thursday, October 17th, 2019
Time:  7:30 pm
Place:  Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC Campus, 515 West Hastings Street (between Seymour and Richards Streets) in the Diamond Alumni Lounge on the second floor
Speaker:  Mark Battersby
Topic:  Inquiry: A New Paradigm for Critical Thinking

Brief Biography:

Mark Battersby is Professor Emeritus at Capilano University, where he taught for over 40 years. He has also taught critical thinking at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Stanford University, as well as presenting numerous workshops. He was founder of the British Columbia Association for Critical Thinking Research and Instruction and led a Ministry curriculum reform initiative based on learning outcomes. He has facilitated Philosophy Cafes since for over 10 years.

He has written numerous articles on critical thinking, and is the author of Is That a Fact: A Field Guide to Scientific and Statistical Information (Broadview, 2nd Ed , 2016), and, with Sharon Bailin, Reason in the Balance: An Inquiry Approach to Critical Thinking (2nd Ed. Hackett, 2016).  Both texts have been translated into Chinese.  In 2018 Windsor Studies in Argumentation published Inquiry: A New Paradigm for Critical Thinking, a collection of his and Bailin’s papers on their approach to critical thinking.  He and Bailin are currently collaborating on CRITHINKEDU, a major European project to infuse critical thinking into higher education and a rewrite of Reason in the Balance to make it culturally appropriate for Chinese students.


What follows is the synopsis of Mark’s new book which will be the basis of his presentation.

This volume reflects the development and theoretical foundation of a new paradigm for critical thinking based on inquiry. The field of critical thinking, as manifested in the Informal Logic movement, developed primarily as a response to the inadequacies of formalism to represent actual argumentative practice and to provide useful argumentative skills to students. Because of this, the primary focus of the field has been on informal arguments rather than formal reasoning. Yet the formalist history of the field is still evident in its emphasis, with respect to both theory and pedagogy, on the structure and evaluation of individual, de-contextualized arguments. It is our view that such a view of critical thinking is excessively narrow and limited, failing to provide an understanding of argumentation as largely a matter of comparative evaluation of a variety of contending positions and arguments with the goal of reaching a reasoned judgment on an issue. As a consequence, traditional critical thinking instruction is problematic in failing to provide the reasoning skills that students need in order to accomplish this goal. Instead, the goal of critical thinking instruction has been seen largely as a defensive one: of learning to not fall prey to invalid, inadequate, or fallacious arguments.

Additional Information:

Welcome back to our fall 2019 season. Listed below are the dates for our upcoming presentations in 2019 and the first half of 2020.

November 21, 2019
December 12, 2019
February 20, 2020
March 19, 2020
April 16, 2020
May 21, 2020

Any questions, please contact me:
Mark Dwor

Categories: Event