ArgLab • Colloquium

Chrysi Rapanta

Bewilderment as a predictor of different classroom dialogue types: preparing teachers for dealing creatively with argumentative uncertainty

Thinking begins when a state of doubt or uncertainty about what to do or to believe exists (Baron, 1985). Since Ancient Greece (both Platonic and Socratic dialogues) till recent philosophy of education theories (for example Papastephanou and Angeli, 2007), the level of critical aporia or bewilderment increased or maintained through dialogue is an essential ingredient of thinking critically with and because of others. This critical thinking ingredient has been largely ignored in recent theories of Argumentation and Education, the successor of the Critical Thinking movement that reached its peak in the 90’s. In my talk I will show that the critical thinking (CT) ingredient of bewilderment, first, is present in everyday argumentation dialogues, and second, is a main pragmatic indicator of constructive interaction in pedagogical (teacher-students) dialogues. Discussion will focus on the challenges that CT or argument-based teachers of all educational levels should overcome to be able to allow for bewilderment and creative dialogue space to take place in the classroom.


Chrysi Rapanta, FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal




  • Baron, J. (1985). Rationality and intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Papastephanou, M., & Angeli, C. (2007). Critical thinking beyond skill. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 39(6), 604-621.