Monday, June 3, 2024

Philosophical Pondering--Aligning Common Core Standards to Critically Thinking about Election 2024

                                Rodin’s “The Thinker” Photo by Matthew Bamberg

For most Western philosophers, deep questioning is vital for comprehending many aspects of various communication. 

The Election 2024 season can be aligned to Common Core ELA standards by implementing the following standards: 

  • RI.6-12.1: Have students analyze primary sources such as candidate speeches, policy proposals, and news articles to support their analysis with textual evidence.
  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

An example of one of the most important issues today is climate change. The following standard relates to how Election 2024 can relate to the science of global warming.

  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

While I attempt to take ample spoonfuls of logic and reason before I utter a word, it doesn’t always happen. If I fail, I’ll try and try again. Interpreting philosophers is a challenging critical thinking task.

Although Western philosophers were wise and contributed significantly to the development of logic and reason, they always didn’t practice what they preached. Their suggestions for education are nonetheless valuable and worth considering.

My take on their ideas stems from many years of teaching students how to think critically in each discipline they learn. Each can be applied to the Common Core Standards above.

SOCRATES C. 470–399 B.C

Socrates believed that leaders can be confused and irrational. 

Consider a situation where you question common beliefs. For example, some people have the idea that the weather causes earthquakes.

PLATO C. 427–347 B.C.

Reasoning that education included teaching about individual and social justice, Plato mused that every human soul wants to reach spiritual and higher truths to transform the world.

What activities can adults engage young people in to ensure that each develops to the best of his/her ability?

ARISTOTLE 384–322 B.C.

Concerned that education must include reasoning and ethics, Aristotle created the syllogism to ensure logic. 

A syllogism includes a universal statement and an example, which leads to a conclusion to illustrate a logical argument. 
For example, all humans are mortal. The writer of this article is human (as far as he knows). Therefore, the writer is mortal. 

What syllogism would be valid about Election 2024?


Developing ideas, including analyzing criticism of them, was one of many ideas from Aquinas.

What are some ways adults can discuss ideas with each other and with children that teach that criticism can be constructive?


The mind works best by observation, yet it can lead to misconceptions by tricking itself, which was an important point made by Bacon. 

How can people think together for better long-term circumstances?


According to my interpretation of Descartes, humans are better off using discipline as a mind exercise. Furthermore, every part of thought requires questioning, doubting, and the creation of logical examples that apply to it.

Should conversations require examination?  


Critiques should be devoid of prejudice and false judgments and contain reflection through examples. The categorical imperative necessitates just behavior and understanding of the places science, ethics, and spirituality have in our lives. 

How would you explain that science is based on years of testing and research?

JOHN LOCKE 1632–1704

Rulers must rationally respect citizens' life, liberty, and property rights as part of a government system and respect reasonable criticism about human needs from citizens, or else that government will be replaced. 

How should political leaders react to constructive criticism to ensure it meets the basic needs of the people it serves? 

JOHN DEWEY 1859–1952

Seeking to ensure education for all, Dewey insisted that learning includes hands-on practices and the information needed to participate in a robust democracy. 

How can citizens increase their participation in supporting democracy and advocate for people to have a good life?


Realizing human understanding was complex, Adorno mused that humans see concrete and abstract objects and ideas as unique and that categorizing them limits knowledge of their nature. 

How can society move and develop thinking about objects and ideas by respecting their uniqueness and complexity? 


For democracy to work, considerations that outline its existence by the masters of Western political thought throughout the ages must remain fluid and open to the new ideas of a changing demographic to create a good life for all people. 

Matthew Bamberg is a professor who teaches critical thinking courses to graduate university students.