Abraham Kuyper Center

Subproject 5

Edwin KosterCultivating Intellectual Virtues, Critical Thinking, and Personal Development through University Teaching

Project leader: dr. Edwin Koster


“In discussions on the epistemic responsibilities of academic teaching, the concept of ‘judgment’ is very important: it is one of the Dublin descriptors. The notion of ‘judgment’ as used here, however, goes mostly unanalyzed. The notion can be enriched by drawing on the philosophical tradition of Aristotle, Kant and Gadamer, as well as on philosophers of science such as Kuhn. A further question is how a better understanding of the notion of judgment influences teaching of the art of judgment. We will organize an academic international conference devoted to exploring these issues. This will result in a book or special issue of a journal. The results will also be made available through a broadly accessible article in a professional journal. Together with the project leader, the candidate will edit the book or special issue, and will write the professional article.

In which way can judgment formation be incorporated in teaching practices at the university? How can universities help their students to develop a capacity for critical thinking and to cultivate intellectual virtues? In which way can university lecturers stimulate critical reflection on underlying conceptual frameworks? What are the conditions for the construction of academic curricula that will help to fulfill these aims? Programs to meet these questions are developed at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the Faculty of Social Sciences and in the School of Medicine of VU Medical Center. Based on the findings of the evaluation of these two pilots, an easily accessible instrument will be developed that allows other faculties or universities to implement teaching interventions to cultivate intellectual virtues and critical thinking. This instrument consists of best practices, strategies, do’s and don’ts and will be published as a booklet. The candidate will help to formulate this booklet.”