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Letter: The discipline of truly thinking

The Rhode Island capital building in Providence is

The Rhode Island capital building in Providence is caught in the late afternoon and viewed from the historic College Hill neighborhood. (undated) Credit: /istock

Regarding the treatment of columnist Cathy Young and other speakers on college campuses ["My brush with campus intolerance," Opinion, Oct. 1], after class one day, a freshman chemistry professor tossed out a comment. He said, "There are those who think, and those who think they're thinking."

When a student asked how to tell the difference, he responded, "Those who think they're thinking come up with a solution and believe they have found the solution."

The value of a liberal education lies not in the ability to recite a particular point of view, but rather to embrace the challenge of questioning one's preconceptions, assumptions and conclusions and give full consideration to those ideas we feel most uncomfortable with. A liberal education teaches us that the discomfort we feel with conflicting ideas is not a function of the ideas themselves, but rather a resistance on our part to accept the limitations of our own provincial thoughts and ideas.

The discipline of true thinking requires the student to actively seek out and embrace alternative solutions and conclusions. To do otherwise is to deceive ourselves into thinking we are thinking when we are not.

Anthony Sarola, Manhasset

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