16 April 2009
Reflective thought (critical thinking) is essential to the medical student who hopes to become an effective physician. John Dewey, one of America's foremost educators in the early twentieth century, revolutionized critical thinking and its role in education. In the mid twentieth century Hannah Arendt provided profound insights into the problem of diminishing human agency and political freedom. Taken together, Dewey's insight regarding reflective thought, and Arendt's view of action, speech, and power in the public realm, provide mentors and teachers of medical students guidance in the training of thought and the need for its effective projection at the patient's bedside and in the community.