Bremen/Guelph Lectures Series 2020 | College of Arts

Bremen/Guelph Lectures Series 2020

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Critical Thinking in Research and Education

Norman Sieroka | University of Bremen, Germany

Wednesday, September 30, 11:00am–12:30pm.

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The title of this talk may sound like a truism. Research and education, it seems, are always about thinking critically.

They are always about inquiring and questioning things rather than taking them simply at face value. Or might this just be an ideal? What exactly do we expect from a “critical” researcher, and how do we facilitate the education of “critical” students? The lecture will address these questions in a rather broad manner; first, by putting the term “critical thinking” into relation with other important concepts such as appropriateness and responsibility; second, by emphasising the fact that (in science as well as in daily life) means, ends, and even concepts are subject to change. The last part of the lecture will be about concrete examples from teaching; that is, about different interactive and interdisciplinary formats meant to facilitate students’ ability to reflect critically upon their own work and discipline.

Norman Sieroka has been full Professor for Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bremen since 2019. He studied philosophy, physics and mathematics at Heidelberg University and the University of Cambridge, and earned his doctorate in physics at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Heidelberg in 2004, with a dissertation on “Neurophysiological Aspects of Time Perception.” Subsequently, at the ETH Zurich, he earned a further doctorate as well as his habilitation (“[Un-]Conscious Perception and Time,” 2012), both in philosophy. After working as a researcher and lecturer in physics, neurophysiology and philosophy at Heidelberg and Bamberg Universities, Professor Sieroka was employed at the ETH Zurich from 2004 to 2019, becoming a senior research fellow in philosophy, managing director of the Turing Centre Zurich, and educational developer and advisory board member for the Critical Thinking Initiative (CTETH).

As a lecturer Norman Sieroka has been developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses together with colleagues from, e.g., physics, pharmaceutical science, and architecture. In fact, a special trait of his research group is that all members have backgrounds in more than one academic discipline. The group is interested in questions about “how science works” and what values are pursued in science.
Professor Sieroka is the author of several books, including Philosophie der Physik – Eine Einführung (C.H.Beck Wissen, 2014), Leibniz, Husserl and the Brain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and Philosophie der Zeit – Grundlagen und Perspektiven (C.H.Beck Wissen, 2018).