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Reading: The Other Dimension of Caring Thinking (with a new commentary by Phillip Cam)


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The Other Dimension of Caring Thinking (with a new commentary by Phillip Cam)


Ann Margaret Sharp

Montclair State University, New Jersey, US
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Life comes from physical or biological survival. But the good life comes from what we care about, what we value, what we think truly important, as distinguished from what we think merely trivial. What we care about is the source of the criteria we use to evaluate ideas, ideals, persons, events, things, and their importance in our lives. And it is these criteria that determine the judgments we make in our everyday lives. In the second edition of Thinking in Education, Matthew Lipman (2002) has indicated the importance of fostering critical, creative and caring thinking in children, if one is to prepare them to make better judgments and live qualitatively better lives. He tells us that caring thinking is appreciative thinking, active thinking, normative thinking, affective thinking and empathetic thinking and then goes on to list a number of mental acts under each of these categories. Maybe it is because ‘caring thinking’ is not as common a term as ‘critical thinking’ and ‘creative thinking’ in everyday educational language that we stop for pause when we hear it. However when we read what Lipman says about caring thinking, we find ourselves nodding and saying to ourselves, ‘Yes, that makes sense. To think caringly means to think ethically, affectively, normatively, appreciatively and to actively participate in society with a concern for the common good’ (Lipman 2002, p. 271). In a real sense what we care about is manifest in how we perform, participate, build, contribute and how we relate to others. It is thinking that reveals our ideals as well as what we think is valuable, what we are willing to fight and suffer for.

How to Cite: Sharp, A.M., 2014. The Other Dimension of Caring Thinking (with a new commentary by Phillip Cam). Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 1(1), pp.15–21. DOI:
Published on 12 Nov 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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