Epistemic Responsibility and Critical Thinking



Should we always engage in critical thinking about issues of public policy, such as health care, gun control, and LGBT rights? Michael Huemer (2005) has argued for the claim that in some cases it is not epistemically responsible to engage in critical thinking on these issues. His argument is based on a reliabilist conception of the value of critical thinking. This article analyzes Huemer's argument against the epistemic responsibility of critical thinking by engaging it critically. It presents an alternative account of the value of critical thinking that is tied to the notion of forming and deploying a critical identity. And it develops an account of our epistemic responsibility to engage in critical thinking that is not dependent on reliability considerations alone. The primary purpose of the article is to provide critical thinking students, or those that wish to reflect on the value of critical thinking, with an opportunity to think metacritically about critical thinking by examining an argument that engages the question of whether it is epistemically responsible for one to engage in critical thinking.