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Reflective thinking, Dewey (1933) claims, is an “active, careful consideration of a belief” or knowledge that upon further consideration will yield to a further belief or knowledge. It is considered a process of making decisions.

Meanwhile, Quito reflects reflective thinking as synonymous with critical thinking and imaginative thinking; an active process of assessing what has been done, what needs to be done, and what must be done—linking it to a gap between typical thinking and intelligent thinking.

However, one may find it unnecessary to qualitative naming or labeling of the thinking process. Others would find it appropriate to claim that not all thinking is quality thinking. But whose standard yardstick will be going to use to qualify one’s thinking as substandard?

The following are thoughts from students who regard reflective thinking as either relevant or unnecessary. It is relevant in the sense that the absence of it may lead to poor decision-making, poor life, poor outcomes, or even poor ideas or failure to respond to what is the prevailing standard of acceptance in the universe where we exist.

In the contrary, it is unnecessary as though it exist, it can not provide certainty of assurance that engaging in it would lead life in this universe much more better.

Here’s what the students say:

The dawn of technology brought about drastic changes to almost all facets of society. This change has greatly benefited man, making their life much easier, whereby all that man needs are provided for him to be able to survive as an individual, and or for the survival of the entire civilization. Albeit, the magnanimity of these advanced technologies, the “immediacy” of this human condition of the modern world, as what Soren Kierkegaard terms, transpired the inauthenticity of one’s life.

Man’s capacity to cognition—innovatively, reflectively, and critically—has almost become alien to the present generation painting a world and posterity of individuals who are robots-alike incapable of reflective thinking.

As a teacher by profession, it pains me deeply to share my phenomenological account, that I have concluded that these advanced technologies, although its end, in good faith, invented to make man’s life something to reckon with, have unfortunately caused cognitive regression—the essence and relevance of reflective thinking in this era has lost its touch to man’s existence.

Tristan Genesis Amistad

I always ask myself, “Where people can insert reflective thinking into their daily lives?”

In the era when all information is spoon-fed to every individual through different media, reflective thinking seems to be a luxury. For workers with their days consumed with from exhausting work to time-consuming daily traffic, the capacity to examine life itself has become a privilege. “The culture industry” the critical theorists of the Frankfurt School coined is one of what I think is the reason for passivity in reflective thinking.

Popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods, such as films, social media content (in our context), and tv shows that are being used to manipulate society, be it intentional or not.

Individuals who spent their days for subsistence prefer those contents for entertainment as they can easily digest them, and the space to step back is almost forgotten.

This is one of the challenges in my work as a human rights activist: how to convince individuals that there is something beyond what we do in our everyday lives that offers an alternative to the status quo, and how we can do that by reflective thinking collectively.

Lawrence Cusipag

Reflective thinking, philosophically, has not “disappeared” in contrast to what Dr. Quito’s essay seemingly observed about it in contemporary times. And as far as human beings continue to live and strive for a living, reflective thinking is still relevant regardless of time.

As human beings can think and be rational in some respects, the process alone to think and to merely think is already reflective thinking—be it shallow or mean the quality of thinking is. For it is not ours individually or collectively or for somebody else to qualify the quality of thinking a man does so long as the thinking process serves his purpose as a being.

Reflective thinking is not limited to the province of what we call one of the higher-order thinking skills. Rather, it already exists and happens each time a man thinks to keep going or simply to decide whether he continues to work out a task or simply to play a game. Nobody has the monopoly to ascertain a thing or two based on what standards or yardstick that prevails. Otherwise, it is diminishing the capacity of human beings to think on their own, to set standards based on their perspectives on how to make things either beneficial to everybody, to the few, or even to just themselves.

The advent of technology does not necessarily expose or lead society to think not critically. Rather, it multiplies in dimensional folds to trigger society to engage in what we call “reflective thinking”, though on different levels.

Philosophy and reflective thinking are inseparable. It is like the body and the soul. Take away the soul (philosophy), the body is lame (reflective thinking). Thus, reflective thinking is timeless; it has never disappeared, nor somehow, sometimes been disused. It is part and parcel of the activity of a man regardless of how he thinks.

Regel Javines

Editor’s Note: This article is graduate school work, an assignment submitted to the graduate class in Philosophy at the University of San Carlos. Readers are encouraged to express their opinions and philosophical thoughts relevant to the topic for educational purposes. Philosophy is not about providing absolute true answers but exploring questions to draw out answers that best serve the questions.

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