Can One Learn to Think Critically? – A Philosophical Exploration

Christy Raymond-Seniuk*, 1, 2, Joanne Profetto-McGrath1
1 University of Alberta, Canada
2 Grant MacEwan University, Canada

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© Raymond-Seniuk and Profetto-McGrath; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Alberta, Canada; Tel: 780-497-5714; E-mail:


Within nursing, critical thinking is a required skill that educators strive to foster in their students’ development for use in complex healthcare settings. Hence the numerous studies published measuring critical thinking as a terminal outcome of education. However, an important comparison between different philosophical underpinnings such as person, truth and the nature of nursing, and how one defines and utilizes critical thinking in practice, has been absent from discussions about critical thinking and learning. When one views critical thinking with varying philosophical lenses, important questions are raised and discussion is expanded. These questions illuminate different perspectives of critical thinking and attempt to explore whether critical thinking can be learned in nursing. The implications of taking a single philosophical viewpoint and a pluralistic approach to understanding critical thinking and learning are explored.

Keywords: Critical thinking, learning, nursing, nursing education, philosophy.