Critical thinking, Creative thinking: An ongoing journey (first project for believing and doubting workshop)

The autobiographical introduction I shared with the participants coming to the Believing and Doubting workshop was “Intersecting Processes: complexity and change in environment, biomedicine and society” Ludus Vitalis XXI (39):319-324, 2013, (pdf).
The written work I shared in April was as described in the following cover note.

I have led a graduate program in Critical and Creative Thinking since the late 90s, but have only taught the core courses in Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking once each (in 1999 and 2013, respectively). The two pieces combined here came from reflecting afterwards on what I learned and how it differed from the received, published perspectives in these fields. The first [“We Know More Than We Are, At First, Prepared To Acknowledge: Journeying to Develop Critical Thinking”] was published as a working paper (; the second [“A set of principles for developing creativity”] is from one of my blogs (see I hope the workshop helps me integrate these pieces and other thoughts into a unity that is useful to others.

For the 80 minutes allotted to my project, I plan to use the “response to shared reading” format described at In brief: “In this process each participant, except the author, takes an equal amount of time, say, five minutes, to convey how a pre-circulated article intersects with or stimulates their own thinking.”

The relevance to believing and doubting is that:
a) the approach to critical thinking is not much about cutting down someone else’s ideas and more about developing ways to support others in a “journey” in which they get fuller access to their intelligence;
b) the approach to creative thinking extends the above, paying attention to person’s role in building the social structures that support their ongoing development;
c) the deflation of the cutting down sense of critical thinking implies that methodological believing becomes one tool or process among many in supporting another person’s development as a critical thinker and creative thinker.

Stay tuned to see the actual project I have been working on in parallel to the workshop.


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

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