Book Review: “Against Critical Thinking in Health, Social Care and Social Work: Reframing Philosophy for Professional Practice” by Professor Tom Grimwood


  • Katherine Stelfox University of Calgary



This article is a review of Dr. Tom Grimwood’s recent book, Against Critical Thinking in Health, Social Care and Social Work: Reframing Philosophy for Professional Practice, published by Routledge (2024). In this book, Grimwood takes the reader through a series of encounters between philosophy and practice, attempting to disrupt the well-established assumptions of critical thinking so that we may better understand criticality for its utility among care practice professionals, and as a mode of understanding. Grimwood’s work is a necessary antidote to the well-established prescriptive and methodological application of how critical thinking has historically been "used" in the caring practice professions, or how it has been persuasive in the kind of understandings it produces. At a time when the contemporary social welfare landscape is becoming increasingly politicized and economized in ways that create societal divisiveness, as was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, current conceptualizations of criticality have left care professionals without a way to bridge misinformation and misunderstanding in their practice. Thus, Grimwood considered his project to be inherently hermeneutical, wanting to remedy the all too familiar divide between theory and practice of critical thinking for practice professionals and in new and reimagined ways for applied hermeneutics.

Author Biography

Katherine Stelfox, University of Calgary

Katherine Stelfox is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. Her research centres around older adults and residential aged care. Katherine is an instructor for Nunavut Arctic College, where she teaches nursing research and gerontological nursing. Katherine has a diverse nursing background, having worked as a registered nurse in Nunavut and the Yukon, as well intensive care in Edmonton and long-term care in Calgary. Having done her master’s degree in global health with a focus on healthcare policy and economics, Katherine feels passionately about the intersectionality of policy, economics, and quality of care in long-term care facilities.