Critical Thinking Lab
"Thinking is an action. For all aspiring intellectuals, thoughts are the laboratory where one goes to pose questions and find answers, and the place where visions of theory and praxis come together. The heartbeat of critical thinking is the longing to know—to understand how life works."
— bell hooks, Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom (2010).
What is the Critical Thinking Lab?
At the Critical Thinking Lab, you can expect an individualized session with a trained critical thinking consultant for help with any Philosophy or Philosophy, Politics and Law assignment.
What We Do
We are here to develop your best thinking. Whether you are a beginning student or advanced, the Critical Thinking Lab can help you with your essays, summaries, formal arguments, speeches, presentations, and application materials. We recognize that critical thinking takes many forms—writing, speaking, listening—and occurs at all stages of the creation process—questioning, analyzing, brainstorming, synthesizing, outlining, articulating, and revising. Visit us, and we'll think about your work together.
Think out-loud in a face-to-face consultation at the Critical Thinking Lab. Walk in to be seated as soon as possible or make an appointment online. Consultations are roughly 40 minutes and take place in the Library Tower 1205.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Use Starfish to schedule your consultation. You can access Starfish from the MyBinghamton page under "Useful Links" on the Left-Hand side.
How to Make the Most of Your Consultation
Work hard to understand the material first. Where applicable, grapple with any assigned readings and texts before your consultation. Our consultants come from diverse backgrounds, but they may not be familiar with the content of your paper or project.
Prepare to think. Come in with a sense of what part of the thinking process you want to focus on—i.e. brainstorming, organization, revising, etc.
Plan time for revision. Set aside time after your appointment to reflect, revise, and ask follow-up questions as you develop your thinking further.
Meet early in the semester and visit often. Developing your critical thinking will take time, practice, and ongoing effort. Be patient with yourself, ask questions, and your thinking will improve.
Visit us in the Philosophy Department, Library Tower 1205.
Guides for Students
- A Brief Guide to Constructing Thesis Statements and Introductions
- How to Interpret a Writing Assignment
- Help on Writing a Philosophy Paper
- Positions, Objections, and Making Things Clear
- How Might a Philosopher Respond to This Objection
- Editing Basics
Who Are We?
Courtney Miller is a Ph.D. student in the Social, Political, Ethical, and Legal (SPEL) Philosophy program. Her research areas include social, political, and feminist philosophy. Courtney's current work considers how issues of credibility, dependency, and structural injustice impact the ability of victims/survivors of trauma to access resources necessary for their well being. She has taught numerous courses at Binghamton, including PHIL 148: Medical Ethics, PHIL 149/ENVI 149: Environmental Ethics and Policy, and PHIL 456/ENVI 481: Sustainability. She's currently teaching PHIL 497: Critical Thinking and Reasoning (Fall, 2018).
Our consultants are undergraduate Philosophy and/or PPL majors with special training in critical thinking pedagogy. They are experienced, curious, and excited to work with you.
Michael Collins is a senior pre-law student majoring in PPL from Tuckahoe, NY. His interests within philosophy include ethics and philosophy of law. Michael intends to enter law school following graduation and pursue a J.D. and a subsequent career in law, where his main areas of interest include intellectual property and entertainment.
Melissa Esposito is a senior majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Law. Her interests include the philosophy of law, transitional justice, and conflict theory. After graduation, she plans on traveling before attending law school. She is a policy analyst for the Vice President of Academic Affairs Office and Binghamton University's chapter of the Roosevelt Institute. In addition, she is a tutor for the Student Athlete Success Center and a member of the Women's Club Volleyball team.
James Garvey is a senior History and Philosophy, Politics and Law double major. His main areas of philosophical interest are governmental and sociopolitical ethics, commensurability, the relationship between rights and duties concerning established roles in society and government as well as environmental ethics. James plans on attending law school post-Binghamton, and is currently interested in environmental law. Outside of academics, James is a DJ at Binghamton's campus radio station, WHRW, where he co-hosts a weekly music show.
Christina O'Hara is a junior double majoring Philosophy and Philosophy, Politics, and Law from Queens, NY. She believes the study of philosophy is intrinsically rewarding once you are able to parse through the occasionally dry nature of the text. She is excited to share that passion through her work here. She is also a member of the school's debate team, running club, and works as a kickboxing instructor on campus. She plans to attend law school after graduation.
Jake Tuckman is a junior triple majoring in Economic Analysis, PPL, and Math. His philosophical interests lie in the philosophy of decision making, and the logic and moral psychology which accompany it. He is also interested in political and economic/market philosophy. He is from Brooklyn, NY, and plans to pursue graduate work in behavioral economics.