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Critical Thinking: Critical Thinking

Thoughts on critical thinking

"We are approaching a new age of synthesis. Knowledge cannot be merely a degree or a skill... it demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress."
Li Ka Shing

"The jaws of power are always opened to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."
John Adams
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
Bertrand Russell
"I always have a quotation for everything—it saves original thinking."
Dorothy L. Sayers

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thought & thinking


reasoning ability

concept mapping



thinking skills

comparative analysis


information literacy

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What is Critical Thinking?


“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.”
The Critical Thinking Community,, accessed 04/16/2012.

"A critical thinker is someone who uses particular criteria to evaluate reasoning, form positions, and make decisions." (from Becoming a critical thinker 5th ed., Sherry Diestler, 2009) 

"Critical thinking is a complex process of deliberation which involves a wide range of skills and attitudes. It includes:
  • identifying other people's positions, arguments and conclusions;
  • evaluating the evidence for alternative points of view;
  • weighing up opposing arguments and evidence fairly;
  • being able to read between the lines, seeing behind surfaces, and identifying false or unfair assumptions;
  • recognising techniques used to make certain positions more appealing than others. such as false logic and persuasive devices;
  • reflecting on issues in a structured way, bringing logic and insight to bear;
  • drawing conclusions about whether arguments are valid and justifiable, based on good evidence and sensible assumptions;
  • presenting a point of view in structured, clear, well-reasoned way that convinces others."

(from Critical thinking skills, Stella Cottrell, 2005)

"Components of critical thinking

  1. Identifying and challenging assumptions is central to critical thinking
  2. Challenging the importance of context is crucial to critical thinking
  3. Critical thinkers try to imagine and explore alternatives
  4. Imagining and exploring alternatives leads to reflective skepticism"

(from Developing critical thinkers, Stephen D. Brookfield, 1987)


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