Blog - by Linda Elder with Richard Paul Archives

Welcome to the interactive blog of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. The chief contributor is Dr. Linda Elder, President and Senior Fellow of the Foundation. We also post articles and interviews from the Richard Paul Archives, featuring seminal work and ideas from throughout Dr. Paul's life and career. There may also be occasional contributions from other Foundation for Critical Thinking Fellows and Scholars.

Join us here often - we will share personal readings we find helpful to our own development, instructional designs and processes we recommend, and strategies for applying critical thinking to everyday-life situations.

Through this blog, we will also recommend videos and movies that can help you, your students, your colleagues, and your family internalize and contextualize critical thinking principles, or identify where and how critical thinking is missing. Look for our tips and questions connected with our recommendations.

Lastly, this blog will occasionally feature articles by community members that are exemplary in advancing critical thinking. If you would like to submit an article for consideration, please send them to us at communityadmin@criticalthinking.org.
Richard Paul Archives
Jul 17, 2024 • 3d ago
[Part 1] The Contribution of Philosophy to Critical Thinking

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Abstract"},{"insert":"\n\nIn this paper, originally part of “Philosophy and Cognitive Psychology,” Paul argues for the power of philosophy and philosophical thinking for intellectual autonomy. He claims that even children have a need and right to think philosophically and are very much inclined to do so, but are typically discouraged by the didactic absolutistic answers and attitudes of adults. Consequently, the inquiring minds of children soon become jaded by the self-assured absolutistic environment which surrounds them.\n\nThe potential of children to philosophize is suggested in a transcript of a 4"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" grade classroom discussion of a series of abstract questions. Following the transcript, Paul illustrates a variety of ways in which traditional school subjects can be approached philosophically. He closes with a discussion of the values and intellectual traits fostered by philosophical thought, the skills and processes of thought, and the relation of philosophical to critical thought.\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Introduction"},{"insert":"\n\nIn this paper I lay the foundation for a philosophy-based, in contrast to a psychology-based, approach to teaching critical thinking across the curriculum. I lay out the general theory and provide some examples of how it could be used to transform classroom instruction and activities. Nevertheless, I want to underscore the point that I lack the space to cover my subject comprehensively. Interested readers must independently pursue the leads I provide, to see the power and flexibility of philosophy-based approaches to critical thinking instruction. I must content myself with modest goals, with a few basic insights into philosophical thinking, with a few of its advantages for instruction.\n\nThere are three overlapping senses of "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"philosophy"},{"insert":" that can play a role in explicating the nature of philosophical thinking: philosophy as a field of study, philosophy as a mode of thinking, and philosophy as a framework for thinking. In what follows, I focus on philosophy as a mode of and framework for thinking and will say least about it as a field of study. Nevertheless, some characterization of the field of philosophy is useful.\n\nPhilosophy is steeped in dialogical and dialectical thought. Philosophy is an art rather than a science, a discipline that formulates issues that can be approached from multiple points of view and invites critical dialogue and reasoned discourse between conflicting viewpoints. Critical thought and discussion are its mains instruments of learning. More so than any other field, philosophy requires all participants to think their own way to whatever system of beliefs ultimately constitute their thought within the field. This entails that all philosophers develop their own unique philosophies.\n\nIn contrast, science students are not expected to construct their own science. Sciences have emerged because of the possibility of specialization and joint work within a highly defined shared frame of reference. Its ground rules exclude what is not subject to quantification and measurement. Sciences are cooperative, collaborative ventures whose practitioners agree to limit strictly the range of issues they consider and how they consider them.\n\nPhilosophy, on the other hand, is largely an individualistic venture wherein participants agree, only in the broadest sense on the range and nature of the issues they will consider. Philosophers have traditionally been concerned with big questions, root issues that organize the overall framework of thinking itself, in all domains, not just one. Philosophers do not typically conduct "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"experiments"},{"insert":". They rarely form "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"hypothese"},{"insert":"s or make "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"predictions"},{"insert":" as scientists do. Philosophical tradition gives us a tapestry rich in the development of individual syntheses of ideas across multiple subject domains: syntheses carefully and precisely articulated and elaborately argued. There is a reason for this basic difference between the history of science and that of philosophy.\n\nSome questions, by their nature, admit of collaborative treatment and solution; others do not. For example, we do not need to individually test for the chemical structure of lead or determine the appropriate theory of that structure; we can rely on the conclusions of those who have done so. But we cannot learn the structure of our own lives or the best way to plan for the future by looking up the answer in a technical manual or having an answer determined for us by a collaborative scientific effort. We must each individually analyze these questions to obtain rationally defensible answers. There is a wide range of ways human lives can be understood and a variety of strategies for living them. Rarely, if ever, can answers to philosophical questions be validated by one person for another.\n\nThe method of philosophy, or the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"mode"},{"insert":" of thinking characteristic of philosophy, is that of critical discussion, rational cross examination, and dialectical exchange. Every person who would participate in that discussion must create and elaborate a framework for thinking comprehensively. This discipline in the mode of thinking characteristic of philosophy has roots in the ideal of learning to think with a clear sense of the ultimate foundations of one’s thinking, of the essential logic of one’s thought, and of significant alternative, competing ways of thinking.\n\nConsider philosophical thinking as a framework for thought. When one engages in philosophical thinking, one thinks within a self-constructed network of assumptions, concepts, defined issues, key inferences, and insights. To think philosophically as a liberal, for example, is to think within a different framework of ideas than conservatives do. What is more, to think philosophically, in this sense, is to "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"know"},{"insert":" that one is thinking within a different framework of ideas than other thinkers. It is to know the foundations of liberalism compared to those of conservativism.\n"}]}



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Linda Elder
Jul 12, 2024 • 8d ago
How to Foster Critical Thinking in Students on a Typical Day

{"ops":[{"insert":"When students learn to reason with skill within the content of their courses, they take ownership of the most basic principles and concepts within the subjects they are studying. The instructional ideas in all of our work are premised in this understanding. These ideas are based on a vision of instruction implied by critical thinking and an analysis of the weaknesses typically found in most traditional didactic lecture/quiz/test formats of instruction. We begin with two premises:\n \n■ that to learn a subject well, students must master the thinking that defines that subject, and"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"■ that we, in turn, as their instructors, must design activities and assignments that require students to think actively within the concepts and principles of the subject."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"The essence of studying academic subjects with discipline entails learning the tools employed by the intellectually developed mind. This means "},{"insert":"internalizing fundamental concepts and principles before attempting to learn more advanced concepts. This requires that instructors design coursework that "},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"makes intellectual work and deep learning manageable, practical, and intuitive to students."},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"One of the goals of critical thinking is to foster lifelong learning and the traditional ideal of a liberally educated mind: a mind that questions, probes, and masters a variety of forms of knowledge, through command of itself, intellectual perseverance, and the tools of learning."},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"Critical thinking helps put questions into clearer perspective. It illuminates that all bona fide fields of study share common intellectual structures and standards of reasonability. It emphasizes that foundational intellectual structures and standards of reasonability are worth learning explicitly and in themselves, since they help us more deeply interconnect and understand all that we learn. It also emphasizes foundational intellectual dispositions and values that define the traits of the disciplined thinker in all fields: intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual empathy, confidence in reason, and fairmindedness."},{"insert":"\n\nTo learn specific strategies for fostering critical thinking in instruction, read the many resources in our libraries for educators and students. Also view our many instructional design videos in our video library. Here are few of the resources in these libraries:\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"#0066cc","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=354"},"insert":"How to Foster Critical Thinking in Students on a Typical Day"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":" (recently released webinar with Dr. Gerald Nosich)"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"#0066cc","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_educators/120/HowtoImproveStudentLearningforCommunityOnline.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"How to Improve Student Learning"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"#0066cc","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_students/29/Thinker__sGuideonHowtoStudyandLearnaDiscipline.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"The Thinkers Guide for Students on How to Study and Learn a Discipline"},{"insert":"\n"}]}



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Richard Paul Archives
Jul 01, 2024 • 18d ago
[Part 9 - Final] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"[Missed Part 8?"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"color":"#002060","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=234"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"]"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Conclusions"},{"insert":"\n\nWe do not live in a disembodied world of objects and physical laws. Neither do we live in a world of nature-created economic laws. We live in a world of people. The fundamental institutional structures, the rules, laws, principles, mores, and folkways are, consciously or unconsciously, created by people. The conditions for and the nature of productivity are not things-in-themselves, but products of multitudes of human decisions embodied in human activity and behavior. The benefits yielded by any mode of production can be viewed narrowly or broadly. They can be treated technically as a function of production curves, of so much raw material and labor costs, of product output and input factors, of production standards expressible in time per unit or units per hour. They can, of course, be viewed from the perspective of management as skill in using labor and equipment or of maximizing profits for investors. In many settings, the narrow view will inevitably prevail as determined by pressing agendas and the imperatives that result from functioning essentially in the service of narrowed vested interests. Stockholders do not gather together to hear reports of service to the broader public good but to hear what the balance sheets say, what the present profits are and, given intelligent projections, can be expected to be in the near future.\n \nBut educators, whether concerned with “liberal,” “professional,” or “vocational” programs, should not function as representatives of any vested interest but rather as public servants working to advance the public good. Such a responsibility requires a broad, a comprehensive, and a critical view of society as a whole. Our understanding of the role of our specialization must be determined by our vision of its place in service of a critically sophisticated view of the problems of working to achieve a society that serves the public rather than private interests. Our global vision must shape our understanding of our specialty; our specialty as a thing-in-itself, as a system of narrow loyalties must not be used as a model for generalizing our vision of the world as a whole. The vocational or professional educator who adopts the philosophy, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the United States” uncritically confuses vested and public interests.\n \nA market economy is compatible with democracy only insofar as large accumulations of capital cannot be used to harness mass communications to manipulate the public into the service of vested interest and private greed. There is no way to prevent such practices except through the development of sophisticated critical thinking processes on the part of the electorate as a whole. Such processes must be honed in school on complex, controversial issues that force one to deal with opposing points of view and the subtle devices of propaganda and mass manipulation. The results of instruction in critical thinking is independence of thought and flexibility of mind, the very features essential to the metamorphosis of work from routine, mechanical functions (more and more to be automated) to complex problem-solving functions that presuppose the ability to question and redefine the basic problems themselves. Our view should not then be “What’s good for General Motors is good for the United States,” but “What’s good for the United States is good for General Motors,” whether it realizes it or not.\n"}]}



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Linda Elder
Jun 21, 2024 • 29d ago
Thinking, Feeling and Desiring as an Interactive Triad

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But always keep in mind that much of our thinking left to itself is biased, distorted, ill-founded, or prejudiced. Our thinking can easily lead to problems in our lives, including mental health problems. Our thinking can also cause problems for others, through disrespect, negligence, and cruelty, for instance. "},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"Of course, the mind doesn’t just think, it also feels and wants. What is the connection? Our thinking shapes and determines how we feel and what we want. When we think well, we are motivated to do things that make sense and to act in ways that help rather than harm ourselves and others. At the same time, powerful emotions or desires may influence our thinking, helping or hindering how well we think in a situation. At any given moment, our minds (that complex of inner thoughts, feelings and desires) can be under the sway of our irrational or rational capacities. Our thoughts, feelings and desires may be either mentally healthy or unhealthy."},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"Though thinking, feeling and wanting are, in principle, equally important, it is only through your thinking that you can take command of your mind. It is through your thinking that you figure out what is going wrong with your thinking. It is through your thinking that you figure out how to deal with your destructive emotions. It is through your thinking that you change unproductive desires to productive ones. It is fairminded reasonability that frees you from intellectual slavery and group conformity. If you understand your mind and its functions, if you face the barriers to your development caused by egocentric and sociocentric thought, if you work on your mind through daily, disciplined practice, you can take the steps that lead to a self-actualizing lifestyle."},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"For more on the relationship between thoughts, feelings and desires, view our recently released podcast: "},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=352"},"insert":"The Human Mind: Going Deeper - Thinking, Feeling & Wanting"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#211d1e"},"insert":"Also work through one or all of the exercises in the "},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/triangleOfThinking.php"},"insert":"Triangle of Thinking, Feeling, and Desiring"},{"insert":".\n\nFor more on native human irrationality, view these podcasts:\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=341"},"insert":"Egocentricity"},{"insert":"- Going Deeper\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=339"},"insert":"Sociocentricity"},{"insert":" – Going Deeper\n\n---\n\nThis material in this blog has been slightly modified from excerpts found in the upcoming book: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Critical Thinking Therapy for Mental Health and Self-Actualization"},{"insert":", by Linda Elder (2025), in press.\n\n"}]}



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Richard Paul Archives
Jun 11, 2024 • 38d ago
[Part 8] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"[Missed Part 7?"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"color":"#002060","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=232"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Two Objections [2 of 2]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nHere is a second objection:\n \nThe dominant trend in business is toward giant corporations. Within them relations are direct, hierarchical, and bureaucratic. Directions flow from the top down. There is minute specialization of tasks. The entire task is accomplished by orchestrating the diverse specialized contributions. Very few specialists are in a position to judge the contributions of other specialists, or to judge the productive process as a whole. What we need are specialists who know their own specialty well, not generalists who judge this process as a whole."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nMy argument is not an argument against specialization but rather an argument for how to teach specialized skills. It is an argument in favor of specialists with the skills of generalists. There are two different modes of specialization. A narrowing and a broadening one. Most tools nowadays have a narrow specialized function. They are increasingly designed to serve a specific purpose in a specific process. But, as such, they are quickly rendered obsolete. We cannot afford vocational education or training that renders workers obsolete. Precisely because information and technology are quickly being replaced and transformed, we need workers who can adapt to profound changes.\n \nMindless, routine jobs are quickly being automated. The jobs that remain require increasing ability to adapt, to abandon old and adopt new ways. The same kinds of general critical thinking skills and abilities required for the global decisions of a citizen and consumer are required by specialists to adapt to new information, new technologies, and new procedures. This has been attested to in the call for new emphasis on critical thinking skills in vocational and professional education by the Educational Commission of the States, The National Academy of Sciences, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. As one business leader put it, we do not need “a steady supply of drones moving in a huge beehive.” What we do need he suggested with the following example:\n \nMy company took a contract to extract beryllium from a mine in Arizona. I called in several consulting engineers and asked, “Can you furnish a chemical or electrolytic process that can be used at the mine site to refine directly from the ore?” Back came a report saying that I was asking for the impossible – a search of the computer tapes had indicated that no such process existed. I paid the engineers for their report. Then I hired a student from Stanford University who was home for the summer. He was majoring in Latin American history with a minor in philosophy. I gave him an airplane ticket and a credit card and told him, “Go to Denver and research the Bureau of Mines archives and locate a chemical process for the recovery of beryllium.” He left on Monday. I forgot to tell him that I was sending him for the impossible. He came back on Friday. He handed me a pack of notes and booklets and said, “Here is the process. It was developed 33 years ago at a government research station at Rolla, Mo.” He then continued, “And here also are other processes for the recovery of mica, strontium, columbium and yttrium, which also exist as residual ores that contain beryllium.” After one week of research, he was making sounds like a metallurgical expert."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nWhereas the specialists’ preconceptions, intellectual arrogance, and algorithmic thought prevented them from solving the problem, the student’s open mind and general skills enabled him to do so. It is clear that the age of changing specializations needs specialists skilled in the art of changing their specialty, not specialists who, like tools and machines, become obsolete. Those corporations, giant or otherwise, who recognize this will thrive. Those who seek drones with specialties will continually be in trouble and, eventually, I would guess, out of business.\n"}]}



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Linda Elder
Jun 05, 2024 • 45d ago
Where Do You Begin With Critical Thinking, and How do You Continue Developing as a Critical Thinker?

{"ops":[{"insert":"Many of those new to critical thinking will ask us how to begin learning critical thinking and where to access introductory resources. Because critical thinking theory is dynamic and interactive, there are many ways to begin learning critical thinking. For a basic overview of critical thinking, below are good starting places.\n\nRead these excerpts in our "},{"attributes":{"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/libraryForEveryone.php"},"insert":"Library of Publications for Everyone"},{"insert":":\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_everyone/127/MiniatureGuidetoCriticalThinkingConcepts_Tools.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools"},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_everyone/44/Thinker__sGuidetoAnalyticThinking.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"The Thinker's Guide to Analytic Thinking"},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_everyone/47/HumanMindCOcopy.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind"},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\nFor ethical reasoning foundations, read "},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_everyone/51/TheThinker__sGuidetoEthicalReasoning.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"The Thinker's Guide to Ethical Reasoning"},{"insert":".\n\nTo go deeper into the theory and application of critical thinking to everyday life, view our "},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/videoSeries.php?id=29"},"insert":"Critical Thinking: Going Deeper "},{"attributes":{"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/videoSeries.php?id=29"},"insert":"podcast series"},{"insert":".\n\nWe also hope you will join any or all of our many learning opportunities, which you can read about on our "},{"attributes":{"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/webinarsAndAnnouncements.php"},"insert":"Webinars and Announcements"},{"insert":" page.\n\nWe offer study groups, webinars, webinar workshops, conferences, and academies – all of which are designed to help you continue your development as a self-actualizing person through critical thinking. Learning critical thinking and developing as critical thinkers is challenging at best. Together we can learn at higher levels of understanding and insight.\n"}]}



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Richard Paul Archives
May 21, 2024 • 60d ago
[Part 7] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"[Missed Part 6?"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"color":"#002060","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=230"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Two Objections [1 of 2]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nBefore concluding, I should air a couple of obvious objections. One may be put as follows:\n \nSo far you have not dealt with the most obvious problem of productivity, the unproductive worker, the employee who, through lack of knowledge, training, or motivation, fails to perform in an optimal or adequate fashion. What employers want are dedicated, motivated, conscientious, and skilled employees who carry out their tasks as prescribed, not reflective thinkers who ponder the global problems of society."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nThis objection, you should note, assumes that the fundamental problem of productivity is “the worker.” This is, of course, a natural assumption to make if the role one has played is one of traditional management in U.S. industry. From that vantage point, it is natural to key in on employee performance standards and to see those standards as a function of employees in themselves. Studies have demonstrated, however, that in most of the Western world, management and labor both operate with a strong caricature or stereotype of each other. The fact is that each tends to function with a narrow view of its own immediate vested interest. Hence, while it may be in the immediate vested interest of employers to get the most labor from the least investment of capital, it is also in the immediate vested interest of employees to get the highest pay for the least labor. There is minimal incentive in the system to cooperate toward mutual advantage, and maximal incentive to compete as adversaries for available capital.\n \nThe Japanese system of management with its guarantees to the worker of life-long employment and its provision for child care, recreation, profit-sharing, and job-retraining (if necessary) suggests the possibility of the accent being focused on cooperation rather than adversarial competition. It seems to me more reasonable to assume that there are no genetic or “moral” differences between Japanese, and say, U.S. workers, but that the differences in productivity are more a function of radically different philosophies of management/employee relations. I don’t believe that any significant increase in worker productivity will occur unless, and only to the degree that, the interest of workers is more structurally linked to the interests of employers. This is both a global problem and one that can be addressed at the level of individual companies. One reason for the success of high-tech industries, it seems to me, has been a management/employee model closer to the “Japanese” than to the traditional “American” one. Much worker inefficiency arises from these two interrelated causes: workers don’t seem to think; workers don’t seem to care.\n \nPresent instructional practices and management/employee relations seem perfectly designed to produce the first cause. Students are neither taught nor expected to "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"think"},{"insert":"."},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"Such practices as mindless, purposeless drill, over-proceduralization (first do this, then this, then that – don’t worry about understanding it) seem suited to what employers want: workers who keep moving, look busy, "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"seem"},{"insert":" efficient, and don’t question. But this very training-for-mindlessness produces workers who don’t use their heads. Education and industry encourage “going through the motions.”\n \nRegarding the second cause, why "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"should"},{"insert":" workers care about mindless tasks over which they have no control, which they are not encouraged to understand or value, and for which they often get little recognition or reward?\n"}]}



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Linda Elder
May 14, 2024 • 67d ago
View Our Recent Videos on Criticality and Creativity, and Why Critical Thinking is Essential to Democracies

{"ops":[{"insert":"Thank you to all of you who have been able to join our complimentary webinars. For those who missed our latest two, I invite you to view the following videos of those webinars. The first is a recording of the webinar workshop on "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Why Critical and Creative Thinking Depend on One Another"},{"insert":", led by my colleague, Dr. Gerald Nosich. \n\nThe relationship between critical and creative thinking is frequently misunderstood. And yet, quite simply, critical thinking necessarily involves creativity while creativity pre-supposes critical thinking. Critical thinking, without creativity, is merely focused on pointing out flaws in reasoning and in products of reasoning. It offers no solutions. It offers no contributions of substance and value, and therefore is only a partial form of critical thinking. Though it is frequently essential to seek problems in thinking as a "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"part"},{"insert":" of critical thinking, this is not sufficient to achieve the highest levels of criticality in most contexts. These highest levels typically require creativity.\n\nAt the same time, creativity without critical thinking merely results in novelty, or in other words, something that may indeed be new (or perceived as new) but is not necessarily of value, substance, or quality.\n\nIn critical thinking, one of our primary goals is to identify problems in thinking and create solutions to deal with those problems, whether it is our own problematic thinking or that of others.\n\nThose people who make the most important contributions to human societies, the common good, and to sustenance of the earth’s resources illuminate well the relationship between criticality and creativity. They embody intellectual perseverance, as well as other intellectual virtues and abilities, while working within and actively developing their creative capacities. \n\nView the video here:\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=349"},"insert":"How Critical and Creative Thinking Depend on One Another (Gerald Nosich, 05-07-2024)"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"I also invite you to view the webinar I presented on April 15th:"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0563c1","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=350"},"insert":"Why a Thriving Democracy Requires Critical Thinking"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"In this webinar, I focus on the fact that "},{"insert":"critical thinking is essential to successful democracies because education is required for successful democracies (which has long been understood) and because critical thinking is essential to education (which is far less understood).\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"Critical thinking is required to both:"},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"a. critique existing systems of government, such as democracy, and"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"b. build and maintain any successful government (through all human systems within the society – educational, social, cultural, familial, political, professional, business, government, etc.)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"Delineating or identifying the best democratic systems begins with articulating the core concept of democracy itself. This also requires critical thinking. "},{"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"In the webinar, I briefly address these issues, focusing primarily on the overarching questions:"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"What is the relationship between democracy and critical thinking?"},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"What is democracy?"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"What is critical thinking?"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"\t "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#212121"},"insert":"I hope you will take some time to view these videos and that you can join us for future webinars."},{"insert":"\n"}]}



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Richard Paul Archives
Apr 30, 2024 • 80d ago
[Part 6] Critical Thinking, Human Development, and Rational Productivity

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"[Missed Part 5?"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"color":"#002060","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=228"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"What Is the Significance for Education of Irrational Learning and Irrational Production as Social Phenomena?"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nWentworth Eldredge has put part of the background of the problem in a stark light:\n \nThe traditional democratic assumption is that rational adults in a rational society have the necessary hereditary intelligence and social training, coupled with a determined interest and sufficient time, to absorb the available facts which will enable them to make in the political process wise decisions among offered choices and upon occasion to invent and make real alternate choices. A majority vote of such reasoning citizens shall constitute the truth and the ship of state will sail a true course . . . Most adults have completely inadequate training to understand even remotely the complexity of the contemporary scene. They lack interest and feel hopeless to think and act correctly in other than purely private concerns; and moreover, they have neither the time nor the information – assuming they could cope with the latter if by chance it were made available. They are merely carrying out the trite inculcated orders of their culture which have been drilled into them formally and informally since birth. Most adults are feeble reeds in the wild, whistling storm of a dangerous world they neither made nor could ever understand. To ask for the people’s reasoned decision and advice on weighty matters of policy would seem to be a waste of everyone’s time and energy, including their own. One might as well inquire of a five-year-old if he wanted polio vaccine injections."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"In a rational society three general conditions would prevail:"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"1) The modes of production would be rational; that is, the bulk of production would be designed to satisfy basic human needs in a manner minimally wasteful of human and natural resources."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"2) There would be, as a result, a multiplicity of jobs available to individuals whose performance would have a self-fulfilling quality based on the realization that it contributes to production in the public good."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"3) Education would be oriented toward providing citizens with the critical thinking skills to make informed judgments with regard to the social and political decisions that ultimately shape and determine the economic destiny of the nation."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"I am arguing that we are far from this democratic ideal of a rational society. If we are committed to it, we must devise means to achieve it. The only satisfactory strategy available to educators lies in making "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"rational learning"},{"insert":" the hallmark of schooling. We can no longer afford the kind of schooling that at best transforms students into narrow specialists or experts who function as "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"tools"},{"insert":" subject to additional "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"retooling"},{"insert":" as dictated by the needs of production narrowly defined and narrowly controlled, and at worst leaves them without either specialized job skills or a general capacity to learn. The ordinary citizen needs the critical thinking skills of a person able to probe the evidential grounds for belief, a person who is swayed not by appeals to fear, prejudice, or ego but rather by the weight of evidence and reason, who is capable of suspending his judgment until such reasonable grounds for beliefs are forthcoming; a person eager to hear reasons and evidence against his or her beliefs if they become available, and to modify his or her views in accordance with them. Today’s industrial technology is complex, specialized, and interdependent, but the social uses to which it is put and the human decision-making needed to maintain and direct it must be flexible, analytic, and humane – “ends” as well as “means” oriented.\n"}]}



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Linda Elder
Apr 24, 2024 • 87d ago
Cultivating Your Mind by Commanding Your Egocentricity and Register Now for our Conference!

{"ops":[{"insert":"There are so many resources and opportunities in our community that it may be difficult to know where to begin or how to proceed with your learning. I hope you will take advantage of our ongoing webinars and that you join us for our upcoming conference which you can learn about "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"link":"https://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/44th-critical-thinking-conference-main/1631"},"insert":"here"},{"insert":". Register now for the 44"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking, and take advantage of our early early bird discount of 10% off registration fees. \n\nIn this blog, and others to follow, I will offer assignments from the community for you to work through, with the goal of helping you continually cultivate your own critical thinking abilities and dispositions. "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Remember that we learn critical thinking by actively incorporating it into our thinking routinely, systematically, and on a daily basis. "},{"insert":"Nothing short of active commitment to the cultivation of your own mind will lead you through the higher stages of critical thinking development and into the self-actualizing process.\n\nPeople frequently miss the barriers to criticality, so this first set of assignments focuses on this irrational aspect of human reasoning. Specifically, you will be focused on the problem of egocentricity in human life and identifying it in your own thoughts and actions.\n\nHere are your assignments, should you choose to take this journey:\n\n1. View "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/watchEmbeddedVideo.php?id=341"},"insert":"this dialogue"},{"insert":" on the problem of egocentricity."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"2. Read the "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/viewDocument.php?doc=../content/library_for_everyone/47/HumanMindCOcopy.pdf&page=1"},"insert":"excerpts found here"},{"insert":" from "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Thinker’s Guide to the Human Mind."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#2c3b86"},"insert":"3. "},{"insert":"Complete these activities:"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#2c3b86"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#2c3b86"},"insert":"a. "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"color":"#2c3b86","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/wallOfBarriersActivityAnalyzeSelfCenteredPerson?activity=none"},"insert":"Analyze a Self-Centered Person You Know Well"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#2c3b86"},"insert":"b. "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"color":"#2c3b86","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/wallOfBarriersActivityIrrationalPurposes?activity=none"},"insert":"Identify Your Irrational Purposes"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"4. Please share in our "},{"attributes":{"underline":true,"bold":true,"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/connect.php"},"insert":"ConneCT section"},{"insert":" any of your thoughts on these activities."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}



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