Thinking Citizen Blog — Taking Stock III: Aristotle, Confucius, Euclid y BC)

Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Taking Stock III: Aristotle (385–323 BC), Confucius (551–479BC), Euclid (mid-4th- mid 3rd century BC)

What is critical thinking? Today, three insights gleaned from three sages. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

ARISTOTLE: what’s your point? what’s the core syllogism?

1. What is your major premise?

2. What is your minor premise?

3. What is your conclusion?

NB: You can’t distinguish one from the other? Get back to me when you figure it out.

CONFUCIUS: What is the meaning of the words that mean the most to you?

1. Without a clear definition of terms, meaningful conversation is impossible.

2. Confucius called this “zhong ming” or “rectification of names.”

3. When asked what was the first thing he’d do if he were made Emperor he said: “Zhong ming.”

EUCLID: the two-column proof (my middle school version)

1. Can you reduce your argument to a logical sequence of 3 to 7 steps? (First column)

2. Can you justify each with a given or a previously proved theorem or a basic unprovable premise? (Second column)

3. If not, get back to me when you can.


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed.

Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away. This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.