Critical Thinking: The ARDESOS-DIAPROVE Program in Dialogue with the Inference to the Best and Only Explanation

J Intell. 2023 Dec 16;11(12):226. doi: 10.3390/jintelligence11120226.


In our daily lives, we are often faced with the need to explain various phenomena, but we do not always select the most accurate explanation. For example, let us consider a "toxic" relationship with physical and psychological abuse, where one of the partners is reluctant to end it. Explanations for this situation can range from emotional or economic dependency to irrational hypotheses such as witchcraft. Surprisingly, some people may turn to the latter explanation and consequently seek ineffective solutions, such as visiting a witch doctor instead of a psychologist. This choice of an inappropriate explanation can lead to actions that are not only ineffective but potentially harmful. This example underscores the importance of inference to the best explanation (IBE) in everyday decision making. IBE involves selecting the hypothesis that would best explain the available body of data or evidence, a process that is crucial to making sound decisions but is also vulnerable to bias and errors of judgment. Within this context, the purpose of our article is to explore how the IBE process and the selection of appropriate explanations impact decision making and problem solving in real life. To this end, we systematically analyze the role of IBE in the ARDESOS-DIAPROVE program, evaluating how this approach can enhance the teaching and practice of critical thinking.

Keywords: ARDESOS-DIAPROVE program; critical thinking; epistemology; explanation; inference to the best explanation.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.