Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

Dr Khalil's Intellectual Space

Pak Political Economy +

Logical, Critical and Moral Thinking – A Personal Perspective


  1. I learned a lot from the students I taught.


  1. Now when I reflect back on those years (1988-2006, a continuous teaching period, after that, it’s sporadic), I feel more indebted to the students for engaging with me in a sustained and productive dialogue than to my own argumentative mind. Without them, there was no “Other.”


  1. [While teaching courses such as Economics of Education (MAEd), Environmental Education (MAEd), Discipline of Education (MAEd), Philosophy and History of Education (BEd), An Introduction to Economic Thought (BSHon), An Introduction to Political Thought (BSHon), and Economics (FA, FSc) and Philosophy (FA, FSc), and an Annual Residential Course: Ideas for a Free, Responsible and Prosperous Society (a diverse group of participants from post-graduate students to college and university teachers), since 2009 till date, I developed a methodology and the credit goes to the students and participants. I never blamed the students for anything. I blamed myself and tried to correct myself and mostly successfully as was evidenced by the feedback.]


  1. As I learned from my students, not only did I develop a methodology but a certain outline also that was to become actually a course in: “Logical and Critical Thinking.”


  1. I used to spend first week or so in discussing with students their personal and intellectual concerns and the topics of that outline. That set the stage and after creating a rapport, a common perspective and bridge-building with them, the rest of the teaching work and intellectual exchange used to turn far easier.


  1. The immediate (present) push to talk about the “Logical, Critical and Moral Thinking” ‘thing’ comes from those followers of PTI, who talk of Logic, Argument, Circular Argument, Fallacy, Fallacious, Morality, Moral Order, and especially what they express under these rubrics. That baffles my head. I start doubting whether I have forgotten all that Logic and Morality that I learned (and practiced and practice to the best of my ability and powers).


  1. With due apologies and meaning no offense to anyone, I want to share the thoughts briefly expressed below:


  1. Not in the spirit of including this or that thing or sort of everything, for example, human rights, in the curriculum, and that forms an unending list, my humble suggestion is: this “Logical & Critical Thinking” thing should become an optional part of post-graduate courses. At that level, every student should be free to or not to opt them.


  1. Actually, this push has always been there with me and it enabled me to (experiment and) practice this Logical and Critical Thinking thing with the students, and participants. And there are three books that played an important part in the formation of that course outline.


  • A Textbook of Inductive Logic by Karamat Husain Jafri
  • A Textbook of Deductive Logic by Karamat Husain Jafri
  • Introduction to Logic by Irving M. Copi


  1. First two books were originally written both in Urdu and English by Karamat Husain Jafri himself. And I wonder what a genius Karamat Husain Jafri was (Death: December 1976). He was probably the only one (in Pakistan) who knew how to write Basic Books, or say the Text Books. He authored a number of books. On psychology also. All of these books make for Basic Reading. His books on logic are still popular as basic reading, though no doubt they need to be updated. (That’s where Irving M. Copi’s fills the space.)


  1. (And that’s not that’s all. Karl Popper’s Rationalism, William Bartley Junior III’s Comprehensively Critical Rationalism (CCR) and then Frederick Hayek’s Theory of Classical Liberalism, also helped me form my total outlook and my methodology and main planks of my (logical, critical and moral) thinking.)


  1. It was later when I studied the Theory of Classical Liberalism that I added the “Moral” part to the “Logical and Critical Thinking.” Though, the Moral part remained always with me, even when I was not conscious of it. My mentor, Lakht Pasha, aka Pashi, once retorted: You have become a moralist!


  1. Hence the fourth book:


  • The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels


  1. After graduating from the university, I did a refresher course for my own self, studied all the three books in an altogether different spirit and with a renewed interest. That was the period well before I started teaching. As for the fourth book, one on Moral Philosophy, I came to read and value it later, and added it to the arsenal.


  1. That was the preparation for sort of the Journey I set out on!


  1. It was in May 2014 that Ali Salman, Executive Director of Prime Institute asked me to conduct a one-day workshop on the topic: “Introduction to Critical Thinking” for the staff of the Prime Institute. After the Course and its feedback, Ali Salman advised me to transform this “Course” into a business idea, but my interests failed me.


  1. So, whosoever is into it, or is planning to set out or has already set out on his/her journey, let their physical and intellectual holdalls contain the above-mentioned books (or likes of them) and of course what they teach.


Note: This article was completed on May 16, 2023.

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