Evaluating EFL Learners’ Philosophical Mentality through their Answers to Philosophical Questions: Using Smith’s Framework

Document Type: Research Paper


Shiraz University


Given the role philosophical mentality can fulfill in bringing individuals the essential skills of wisdom and well thinking, the present paper, by applying Smith’s (2007) theoretical framework, strived to explore the extent philosophic-mindedness exists among the participants. Considering the fact that, a philosophic mind begets philosophical answers, the participants’ philosophical thinking ability was evaluated through analyzing their answers to philosophical questions. To this end, through convenience sampling, a group of 40 EFL students in BA degree, 21 female and 19 male with the age range of 19 to 35, at Shiraz University, Iran, were selected. They were asked to read two simple short passages, story and non-story, and answer the related questions. Based on three characteristics of philosophic-mindedness (i.e. comprehensiveness, penetration, and flexibility) it was revealed that the majority of the participants signified rigidity and dogmatism in their way of thinking and were in the habit of shallow and superficial thinking. They seemed to be unable to afford themselves a profound insight into the questions. The minority, on the other hand, took notice of different options in the questions, reappraised their varying strands, and provided reasonable answers.  In addition, it was inferred that lack of comprehensiveness alone assures lack of philosophical mentality. Finally, the three dimensions of philosophic-mindedness recommended in the framework can be utilized by stakeholders in educational fields to realize a person with (non-) philosophical mentality.


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