Wall of Barriers Activities: Develop Intellectual Autonomy
×
Back to Virtuous Virtues ◀
Develop Intellectual Autonomy
Intellectual autonomy entails having independent, rational control of your beliefs, values, assumptions and inferences. The ideal of critical thinking is to learn to think for yourself and to gain command over your thought processes. Intellectual autonomy does not entail willfulness, stubbornness, or rebellion. It entails a commitment to analyzing and evaluating beliefs on the basis of reason and evidence, to question when it is rational to question, to believe when it is rational to believe, and to agree when it is rational to agree. The opposite of intellectual autonomy is intellectual conformity.
Activity:
When Have You Been Intellectually Autonomous? When Have You Lacked Intellectual Autonomy?
Briefly review some of the variety of influences to which you have been exposed in your life (influence of culture, company, family, religion, peer groups, media, personal relationships). See if you can discriminate between those dimensions of your thought and behavior in which you have done the least thinking for yourself and those in which you have done the most. What makes this activity difficult is that we often perceive ourselves as thinking for ourselves when we are actually conforming to others. What you should look for, therefore, are instances of your actively questioning beliefs, values, or practices to which others in your “group” were, or are, conforming.
Complete these statements:
1. In the following areas of my life, I have done at least a fair job of figuring out the important influences on my thinking...
2. I support this view with the following evidence...
3. In the following areas of my life, however, I have not really thought critically about the influences on my thought and action...
4. Some implications of my failure to think critically in these areas of my life are...



Activity:
Articulate The Interrelationships Between And Among Intellectual Virtues
Begin with one of the intellectual virtues and see if you can articulate some of the important interrelationships between them. How do you think they work together as a cluster of ideas in thinking?
Interrelationships between and among intellectual virtues: