Religious Education from a Critical Realist Perspective: Sensus Fidei and Critical Thinking, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religious Education from a Critical Realist Perspective

Sensus Fidei and Critical Thinking, 1st Edition

By Johnny C. Go


144 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-12-13
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This book examines the possibility and necessity of critical thinking in religious education through the lenses of critical realism and the Christian doctrine of sensus fidei (‘sense of faith’). Drawing on Bhaskar’s original critical realism and data from a survey of over a thousand teachers in the Philippines, the author argues for a view of critical thinking based on components of ‘disposition’ and ‘competence’. As such, critical thinking becomes the expression of a commitment to judgemental rationality and, in a Christian religious education, is guided by the individual’s sensus fidei. A philosophical and theological discussion of the process of coming to know in the religious domain, Religious Education from a Critical Realist Perspective also offers concrete recommendations on how to promote the practice of religious critical thinking in confessional religious education classrooms. As such, it will appeal to scholars of philosophy, theology and pedagogy with interests in religious education and curriculum development.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



List of Abbreviations

1. Critical Thinking in Catholic Religious Education

2. Critical Realism and Catholic Christianity

3. A Critical Realist Account of Critical Thinking

4. An Empirical Investigation of Teacher Epistemologies

5. A Case for a Critical Realist Catholic Religious Epistemology

6. Catholic Religious Critical Thinking as the Exercise of Sensus Fidei



Works Cited


About the Author


Johnny C. Go

Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Learn more about Johnny C. Go >>

Johnny C. Go is Director of the Science and Art of Learning and Teaching (SALT) Institute at Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, concurrently serving as the Education Secretary for the Jesuit secondary and pre-secondary schools in Asia Pacific. After serving as the President of Xavier School from 2001 to 2013, he completed his doctorates in education in 2016 at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London, and the Singapore National Institute of Education at the Nanyang Technological University. He also teaches education and philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Critical Realism

Critical Realism is a broad movement within philosophy and social science. It is a movement that began in British philosophy and sociology following the founding work of Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer and others. Critical Realism emerged from the desire to realise an adequate realist philosophy of science, social science, and of critique. Against empiricism, positivism and various idealisms (interpretivism, radical social constructionism), Critical Realism argues for the necessity of ontology. The pursuit of ontology is the attempt to understand and say something about ‘the things themselves’ and not simply about our beliefs, experiences, or our current knowledge and understanding of those things. Critical Realism also argues against the implicit ontology of the empiricists and idealists of events and regularities, reducing reality to thought, language, belief, custom, or experience. Instead Critical Realism advocates a structural realist and causal powers approach to natural and social ontology, with a focus upon social relations and process of social transformation.

Important movements within Critical Realism include the morphogenetic approach developed by Margaret Archer; Critical Realist economics developed by Tony Lawson; as well as dialectical Critical Realism (embracing being, becoming and absence) and the philosophy of metaReality (emphasising priority of the non-dual) developed by Roy Bhaskar.

For over thirty years, Routledge has been closely associated with Critical Realism and, in particular, the work of Roy Bhaskar, publishing well over fifty works in, or informed by, Critical Realism (in series including Critical Realism: Interventions; Ontological Explorations; New Studies in Critical Realism and Education). These have all now been brought together under one series dedicated to Critical Realism.

The Centre for Critical Realism is the advisory editorial board for the series. If you would like to know more about the Centre for Critical Realism, or to submit a book proposal, please visit

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General