Can we think better? New book says yes!
Dr Mark Stephens is on a mission to help Australia think. Despite our access to a huge array of information, Dr Stephens says we might not be as good at thinking as we first imagine.
His just-released book, The End of Thinking?, is a reflection on how we can fail in our thinking, and how we might get better at it.
The latest in Acorn Press’s Re:Considering series, The End of Thinking? is Dr Stephens’ call to embrace intellectual humility, having the courage to admit we could be wrong.
“Thinking is something we easily assume we can do well,” he says. “Even if we’re really educated, we assume we’re thinking well about everything. But it can actually be quite hard.”
“It’s a bit like when the doctor asks you to focus on your breathing: something that’s been entirely normal to you for all your life suddenly becomes really hard to do,” Dr Stephens admits. “So when you’re thinking about your thinking, it does feel uncomfortable. But once you push past that discomfort, you become able to spot the ways you go wrong.”
Mark Stephens, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX), writes with both clarity and humour about the challenges of our cultural moment. He encourages his readers to—well—think, as he introduces new and helpful frameworks for doing so.
Like, for example, ultracrepidarianism: “the habit of giving expert opinions on areas where you have no expert knowledge”.
“It’s the idea that because you’re good at one area of knowledge you are an expert at every area of knowledge. It’d be like asking your doctor for gardening tips,” Dr Stephens says.
Ultimately, the thoughtful author says, good thinking “needs patient effort, a willingness to take responsibility, and considerable bravery.” That’s something worth thinking about.
Find out more about Dr Stephen’s new book and discover the rest of the Re:Considering series at reconsidering.com.au, and get your copy at Koorong.
For more information, and for interviews with Dr Mark Stephens, contact Penny Mulvey at [email protected] or on 0403 063 499.