Sunday, May 27, 2007

Neil Postman: On the Importance of Question Asking

... all our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying that question-asking is our most important intellectual tool. I would go so far as to say that the answers we carry about in our heads are largely meaningless unless we know the questions which produced them. ... What, for example, are the sorts of questions that obstruct the mind, or free it, in the study of history? How are these questions different from those one might ask of a mathematical proof, or a literary work, or a biological theory? ... What students need to know are the rules of discourse which comprise the subject, and among the most central of such rules are those which govern what is and what is not a legitimate question.

--Neil Postman, Teaching as a Conserving Activity, 1979.


Neil Postman Online

Jay Rosen Remembers Postman

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