Rethinking Critical Thinking in Colombian High School Philosophy through Paul Ricoeur’s Phronesis: A Hermeneutic Inquiry

  • Author / Creator
    Prieto Galindo, Fredy
  • Current times underscore the imperative to look for educational possibilities in Colombian schools that support a greater openness to listening to diverse voices. In my experience, the dominant training of critical thinking in high school philosophy courses is grounded in philosophical logic and modern epistemology deemed to be neutral, universal, and objective. Any view outside this framework is commonly disregarded. In such a context, I re-examine educational curricula aimed at cultivating critical thinking in philosophy courses and interview four Colombian teachers to ascertain their approaches to teaching high school philosophy.
    More specifically, my interest lies in exploring the ways in which Paul Ricoeur’s (1913-2005) theory of phronesis (practical wisdom) might inform philosophy instruction. While my theoretical framework is based on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (1900‒2002) and Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, a deeper understanding of Ricoeur’s phronesis as critical thinking for high school philosophy is my primary focus. Accordingly, my research question is: In what ways do teachers experience and understand the possibilities and complexities in teaching critical thinking in Colombian high school-level philosophy? A subsidiary question is: What new ways of understanding the teaching of critical thinking emerge from the Ricoeurean theory of phronesis?
    My methodology is hermeneutic inquiry, which seeks to better comprehend a phenomenon in its own ambience and acquire other interpretations that allow an enrichment of the knowledge and practice around the phenomenon. In searching for new a comprehension of teaching critical thinking, I weave a hermeneutic autobiographical approach with my learnings from the participants’ interviews. Data collection includes my field journal, interviews, and participants’ teaching tools (syllabi, lesson plans, class record books, rubrics, etc.). The findings of this research study relate to three main themes: First, the difficulties of instilling critical thinking in high school students through Western philosophy and an exploration of possibilities for decolonizing Colombian high school curricula. Second, the teachers’ pedagogical pathways to overcoming difficulties in cultivating critical thinking among their students. Finally, the study reveals that an epistemological understanding of critical thinking, is only one kind of criticality needed by students: two more forms of critical thinking emerged from the interviews.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.