Blog: Thoughts on Critical Thinking

Welcome to the interactive blog of distinguished authorities on critical thinking, Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Gerald Nosich, Senior Fellows of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. 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.

We will also showcase in our blog articles by our scholars and by community members that are exemplary in advancing critical thinking. If you would like to recommend articles for showcasing here that you believe are exemplary, please forward them to us at
Linda Elder
Jan 13, 2021 • 1d ago
The Deadly Riot at The US Capital is A Manifestation of Sociocentric Thinking

{"ops":[{"insert":"As we continue to try to make sense of the events of January 6, 2021, people are asking questions like: How could so many people have been involved in the crimes connected with breaking into the Capital building in a bizarre attempt to stop the counting of electoral votes? Now that at least some of them have been located and will be held accountable, what did they think would happen when they flashed their smiling faces across the world as they raided the Capital - attacking, injuring and even in one case killing, law enforcement officers? Clearly the group was disorganized on the whole, and the people involved had different motives – with some of them willing to kill in cold blood, while others were simply following along, as naïve thinkers will do. What did the “leaders” of these groups expect would happen – that they would somehow actually stage a coup and take over our government? What did the followers expect would happen when they unlawfully entered the Capital spewing hatred across their shirts and out of their mouths? Were some there to harm or even kill elected legislators and leaders? Were some just following orders from group leaders, pushed along by the US president, without thinking through what they were doing and why? When we hear the actual complaints of these grumbling people, we hear things like, the left wing wants to bring us socialism, communism, Marxism (mimicking what they have heard from their president). But we rarely hear "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"reasoning"},{"insert":" about what is wrong, why it is wrong, how they have been wronged, what they fear about progressive ideas.\n\nSwept up in mass hysteria, which has been exemplified ad nauseam throughout history, many of these people were simply following along with a group that would accept them for their simplistic beliefs that, though out of touch with reality, were shared by the overall group. Collectively they validated one another and could “feel good, even exhilarated.” They thought of themselves as unique and special, a group standing together on principle.  But what principles? In the final analysis, sadly, we see, in essence, merely another gross contextualization of various forms of sociocentric thinking, which runs through human societies. In the following excerpt, slightly modified from my recent book, "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Liberating the Mind"},{"insert":", ("},{"attributes":{"color":"#954f72","link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":" ), I detail some of the manifestations of sociocentrism. As you read this excerpt, apply the ideas to the insurrection of January 6, 2021 in the US Capital.\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"People Tend to Blindly Conform to Group Rules and Groupthink"},{"insert":"\nLiving a human life entails membership in a variety of human groups. This typically includes groups such as nations, cultures, professions, religions, families, and peer groups. We find ourselves participating in groups even before we are aware of ourselves as living beings. We find ourselves as part of one or more groups in virtually every setting. What is more, every group to which we belong has some social definition of itself and some usually unspoken “rules” that guide the behavior of all members. Each group to which we belong imposes some level of conformity on us as a condition of acceptance. This includes a set of beliefs, behaviors, and taboos.\n \nAll of us, to varying degrees, uncritically accept as right and correct whatever ways of acting and believing are fostered in the social groups to which we belong. This becomes clear to us if we reflect on what happens when, say, adolescents join an urban street gang. When they do so, they identify themselves with:\n \n• a name that defines who and what they are,\n• a way of talking,\n• a set of friends and enemies,\n• gang rituals in which they must participate,\n• expected behaviors involving fellow gang\nmembers,\n• expected behaviors when around the enemies of\nthe gang,\n• a hierarchy of power within the gang,\n• a way of dressing,\n• social requirements to which every gang member must conform,\n• a set of taboos—forbidden acts that every gang member must studiously\navoid under threat of punishment.\n \nWhat we tend not to see is that these same principles, or slightly revised versions of them, are implicit in most group behavior, and are hence in no way confined to gang membership or “the masses.” For instance, consider college faculty as a group. They have names or labels, such as “professor,” “assistant professor,” “instructor,” and so on, each of which designates rank. When referring to ideas within their disciplines, they often speak with one another using specialized language that only they understand (and often write books for one another using this same type of specialized language). They invite one another to special parties and dinner engagements, and they exclude people not in their special “club.” They might invite a select group of graduate-level students, or students considered “gifted,” or in some other way considered “special” and therefore deserving of their attention. There is usually a hierarchy that everyone in the group recognizes and “respects,” often having to do with “rank” or seniority.\n \nThough this problem is not as dangerous as an insurrection that attempts to overthrow democratic process, it clearly stands in the way of progress in academia. And the more general point is that we all fall prey to these pathological ways of thinking, to a greater or lesser degree.\n \nFor most people, blind conformity to group restrictions is automatic and unreflective. Most people effortlessly conform without recognizing their conformity. They internalize group norms and beliefs, take on the group identity, and act as they are expected to act—without the least sense that what they are doing might reasonably be questioned. Sumner (1906; 1940) articulates the point well:\n \nWhether the masses will think certain things wrong,"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"cruel, base, unjust, and disgusting; whether they"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"will regard certain projects as sensible, ridiculous,"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"or fantastic, and will give attention to certain topics,"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"depends on the convictions and feelings which at the"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"time are dominant in the mores. (p. 114)"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nHistorian Howard Zinn (2003) exemplifies the problem of blind conformity through nationalism, which is, in the main, achieved through manipulation of the masses. Consider how people collectively beat the drums to war, lining up behind those in power: As always, in a situation of war or near-war, the air becomes filled with patriotic cries for unity against the enemy. What is supposed to be an opposition party declares its loyalty to the president. The major voices in the media, supposed to be independent of government, join the fray. Immediately after President Bush declared “war on terrorism” and told Congress, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” television anchorman Dan Rather … spoke. He said, “George Bush is the president. He makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one American, if he wants me to line up, just tell me where.” Speaking again to a national television audience, Rather said about Bush: “He is our commander in chief. He’s the man now. And we need unity. We need steadiness.” (p. xiii)\n \nAgain, conformity of thought, emotion, and action is not restricted to the masses, the lowly, or the poor. It is characteristic of people in general, independent of their role in society, independent of status and prestige, independent of years of schooling. It is in all likelihood as true of college professors and their presidents as it is of students and custodians, as true of senators and chief executives as it is of construction and assembly-line workers. Conformity of thought and behavior (or group submission) is the rule for humans; independence is the exception. If we, the people, are to cultivate fairminded critical societies, critique of mores and ideological convictions must become commonplace throughout the world.\n \nIn his classic text The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills (1956) examines the thinking and behavior of the powerful in America. He exemplifies groupthink as common among chief executives:\n\nWhen it is asked of the top corporate men: “But didn’t they have to have"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"something to get up there?” The answer is, “Yes, they did.” By definition,"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"they had “what it takes.” The real question accordingly is: the sound"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"judgment, as gauged by the men of sound judgment who select them. The"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"fit survive, and fitness means, not formal competence—there probably is"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"no such thing for top executive positions—but conformity with the criteria"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"of those who have already succeeded. To be compatible with the top men"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"is to act like them, to look like them, to think like them: to be of and for"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"them—or at least to display oneself to them in such a way as to create that"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"impression. (p. 141)"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nIn this example we see conformity coupled with validation of the group’s beliefs and standards— however arbitrary, superficial, or absurd—as primary criteria for success at the executive levels of management. These standards are validated within the group, and thus determine the extent to which given persons will survive in the power structure as well as how “successful” they will become. Critical thinkers learn to recognize and systematically critique these practices.\n \nGroup conformity in human life—the counterpart to group control— is so common as to be nearly undetectable by individuals engaging in it. People tend to automatically accept and follow the mainstream view. This phenomenon is connected with the largely unconscious need to feel accepted—to be validated within the group. Very few people are autonomous thinkers, since true independence of thought is so little valued in human cultures.\n \nConversely, conformity can be seen in almost every part of human life, from the way we wear our hair to the way we dress, from the food we eat to the cars we drive, and from the technological gadgets we purchase to the music we listen to.\n \nPeople are so busy conforming to group codes and conventions, while at the same time having no real sense of doing so, that the negative implications of group influence go largely unnoticed - until groups go too far.\n \nThese understandings only begin to explain the events of January 6, 2021. Until human societies take seriously the problem of group think or sociocentrism in human life, we cannot address, at a foundational level the problems that underly what happened at our US Capital. And until people counter lies and deception (which fit their world view) with truth (that will cause them to change their world view), we can never achieve "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"homo criticus sapien"},{"insert":".\n\nFor more on sociocentrism see "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Liberating the Mind"},{"insert":" by Linda Elder, (Rowman & Littlefield 2019). \n \n"}]}

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Linda Elder
Jan 01, 2021 • 13d ago
New Year’s Resolutions and The Art of Loving

{"ops":[{"insert":"As we move into the new year, we are once again reminded of the life we have lived and the life we are yet to live, of the mistakes we have made and the resolutions we have failed to live up to. We seek to live at a higher level, but how can this be done in the largely pathological world in which we find ourselves? Our reflections, at the beginning of each new year tend to be either repeats of reasonable past resolutions at which we have failed, (such as eating more healthy foods and exercising more), or are superficial declarations suggested to us from mainstream media (such as reading more books).\n\nTo live at a level that brings greater contentment and satisfaction entails expanding our minds in new and edifying directions, which are hard to find in our world filled with glitz, glamour, triviality, and ostentation.  To find a reasonable path to enlightenment, we should look to the best thinking available to us. For me, this means regularly reading in the classics, as many of you know.\n\nFor instance, as we face the new year, this is a good time to revisit our concept of love – to ask ourselves whether and to what degree we understand how to live a life that embodies loving, to ask ourselves weather we have ever seriously contemplated the idea of love that drives us or that has guided our actions to this point, to ask whether we can find ways to give more love and to examine whether our concept of love is more about getting than about giving. No more enlightening book has been written on the idea of love than “"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Art of Loving"},{"insert":",” written by Erich Fromm in 1956.  In the introduction to the 2006 edition of this book, Peter D. Kramer writes:\n\n“The book draws on the whole of Fromm’s experience. We are social creatures, made anxious by our separateness. The culture offers false and easy means for addressing our anxiety – through sameness. It invites us to consume the same goods, work at the same jobs, adopt the same goals – defining ourselves through conformity and insignificant nuances of difference. But if we lack the courage to be individuals, we will never achieve love, since ‘love is union under the condition of preserving one’s integrity.’ Love is not taking, out of insincerity; it starts in giving - of joy, interest, understanding, humor, sadness, ‘of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive’ in us."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\nFor Fromm, love is rebellion against a commercial ideal. He has particular contempt for glossy magazine articles in which happy marriage looks like corporate middle management. The ‘smoothly functioning team,’ he writes ‘is the well-oiled relationship between two persons who remain strangers all their lives.’ Even love as a ‘haven from aloneness’ is bound to fail. To love at all is to be engaged with humankind, with eyes open. ‘If someone would want to reserve his objectivity for the beloved person, and think he can dispense with it in his relationship to the rest of the world, he will soon discover that he fails both here and there.’"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\n…Love is a capacity we can develop in ourselves. And then, even if ‘the principle underlying capitalistic society in the principle of love are incompatible,’ we can find space in which to act."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\nWhy has "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Art of Loving"},{"insert":" survive? Because we know that Fromm is on target – that we cannot find love by acceding lazily to the seductions of the culture. Nor will it do for us to oscillate between complacence and aggression. To change the love we receive, we will have to change our capacity to give love…. There is in every aspect of the book evidence of the traits Fromm proposes to us as paramount, self-awareness, humility, and courage. And here is the proof of his argument: to be addressed by such a person is to feel challenged, to feel sustained, to feel loved (pp. xiii-xv)."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\nIn the preface to the book, Fromm says:\n\nThe reading of this book would be a disappointing experience for anyone who expects easy instruction in the art of loving. This book, on the contrary, wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him. It wants to convince the reader that all his attempts for love are bound to fail, and unless he tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, at the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement. Or – anyone can ask himself how many truly loving persons he has known (p. xvii)."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"\n\nQuotes for this blog are taken from Fromm, E. (1956; 2006). "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Art of Loving"},{"insert":". (NY: HarperPerennial Modern Classics).\n"}]}

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Richard Paul Archives
Dec 29, 2020 • 16d ago
Critical Thinking - What, Why, and How (Part 3 of 3 - "Lower Order Learning")

{"ops":[{"insert":"Richard Paul’s introduction to the program for the 7"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" International Conference on Critical Thinking (1989) bore the title, ‘Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How.’ This article was divided into three sections: ‘The Logically Illogical Animal,’ ‘Knowledge as Thinking,’ and ‘Lower Order Learning.” The third of these appears below.\n"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"There are a variety of forms of lower order learning in the schools. We can understand the forms by understanding the relative lack of logic informing them. Paradigmatically, lower order learning is learning by sheer association or rote. Hence students come to think of history class, for example, as a place where you hear names and dates and places; where you try to remember them and state them on tests. Math comes to be thought of as numbers, symbols, and formulas, mysterious things you mechanically manipulate as the teacher told you to get the right answer. Literature is often thought of as uninteresting stories to remember along with what the teacher said is important about them."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"We can improve student performance only by improving their thinking. We can improve their thinking only by creating opportunities and incentives for them to think. We can provide them with opportunities and incentives for them to think only if those who teach are given time to thoughtfully redesign their instruction. We can create time to thoughtfully redesign instruction only if we ease the compulsion to cover huge amounts of subject matter. We can reduce the obsession to cover huge amounts of subject matter only if the curriculum is restructured to focus on basic concepts, understandings, and abilities. We can restructure the curriculum to focus on basic concepts, understandings, and abilities only if faculty understand why such a focus is essential to the kind of higher order learning that engenders rational and responsible citizens, workers, and persons, people for whom adaptability is a way of life."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"In education the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We need to forge connections that shape the parts to form a coherent educational whole. To achieve this there is nothing more important than a clear conception of education embedded in curriculum, inservice and instruction. No significant reform of education can take place unless we face up to the didactic lower order conception of education that informs daily practice. Present instruction as structured implies an equation between parroting information and acquiring knowledge. Faculty at every level of education often feel compelled to cover information even though they know their students do not significantly understand and will soon forget it. Behind this practice is a network of uncritically held assumptions that need to be made explicit and refuted, namely:"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"1)     that students will learn "},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"how"},{"insert":" to think if only they know "},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"what"},{"insert":" to think,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"2)     that knowledge can be given directly to students without their having to think it through for themselves,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"3)     that to become educated is to store up content analogous to a data book,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"4)     that quiet classes with little student talk are typically reflective of students learning,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"5)     that students can gain significant knowledge without seeking or valuing it,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"6)     that material should be presented from the point of view of the authority, the one who knows,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"7)     that superficial learning can later be deepened,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"8)     that coverage is more important than depth,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"9)     that students who can correctly answer questions, provide definitions, and apply formulae demonstrate substantial understanding, and"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"10)   that students learn best by working alone in silence."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"One who understands and values education as higher order learning holds a very different set of assumptions, namely:"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"1)     that students can learn what to think only as they learn how to think,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"2)     that knowledge is acquired only through thinking,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"3)     that educated persons are those who have learned how to gather, analyze, synthesize, apply, and assess information for themselves,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"4)     that classes with much student talk, focused on live issues, is a better sign of learning than quiet classes, focused on a passive acceptance of what the instructor says,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"5)     that students gain significant knowledge only by valuing it,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"6)     that information should be presented so as to be understandable from the point of view of the learner, and this requires that it be related to the learner’s experiences,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"7)     that superficial learning is often mislearning that stands as an obstacle to deeper understanding,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"8)     that depth is more important than coverage,"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"9)     that students can often provide correct answers, repeat definitions, and apply formulas while yet not understanding those answers, definitions, or formulas, and"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"10)   that students learn best by working together with other students, with a good deal of experience in mutually supportive debate and empathic exchange of ideas."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"These contrasting beliefs about education, knowledge, teaching, and learning have contrasting implications as to how textbooks should be written, how instruction should be carried out, and how students should go about learning. If the first set of statements collectively define a didactic conception of education, the second define a critical conception of education. If the first set encourage lower order learning, the second encourage higher order. A paradigm shift is needed to bring higher order thinking [to] classroom reality. The sessions of the Ninth Annual and Seventh International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform are focused on making this shift a reality."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}

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Linda Elder
Dec 23, 2020 • 22d ago
To What Degree Do You Embody Intellectual Empathy?

{"ops":[{"insert":"Intellectual empathy requires us to think within the viewpoints of others, especially those we think are wrong. This is difficult until we recognize how often we have been wrong in the past and others have been right. Those who think differently from us sometimes possess truths we have not yet discovered. Practice in thinking within others’ viewpoints is crucial to your development as a thinker. Good thinkers value thinking within from opposing viewpoints. They recognize that many truths can be acquired only when they “try on” other ways of thinking. They value gaining new insights and expanding their views.\n\nThey appreciate new ways of seeing the world. They don’t assume their perspective to be the most reasonable one. They are willing to engage in dialogue to understand other perspectives. They don’t fear ideas and beliefs they don’t understand or have never considered. They are ready to abandon beliefs they have passionately held when those beliefs are shown to be false or misleading.\n \nAs you work to develop intellectual empathy, be on the lookout for…\n \n…opportunities to empathize today. Look for examples of empathetic behavior in others. Practice being empathetic. For example, whenever someone takes a position with which you disagree, state in your own words what you think the person is saying. Then ask the person whether you have accurately stated her or his position. Notice the extent to which others empathize with you. See whether there is a difference between what they say (“I understand”) and what their behavior possibly implies (that they aren’t actually listening to you). Ask someone who disagrees with you to state what he or she understands you to be saying. Notice when people distort what is being said to keep from changing their views or giving up something in their interest. Notice when you do the same. By exercising intellectual empathy, you understand others more fully, expand your knowledge of your own ignorance, and gain deeper insight into your own mind.\n \nStrategies for empathizing with others:\n1. During a disagreement with someone, switch roles. Tell the person, “I will speak from your viewpoint for ten minutes if you will speak from mine. This will perhaps help us understand one another better.” Afterward, each of you should correct the other’s representation of your position: “The part of my position you don’t understand is….”\n2. During a discussion, summarize what another person is saying using this structure: “What I understand you to be saying is….  Is this correct?”\n3. When reading, say to yourself what you think the author is saying. Explain it to someone else. Recheck the text for accuracy. This enables you to assess your understanding of an author’s viewpoint. Only when you are sure you understand a viewpoint are you in a position to disagree (or agree) with it.\n \nThis blog piece was adapted from "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"30 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living"},{"insert":" by Linda Elder and Richard Paul, 2013, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, pp. 55-56.\n"}]}

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Richard Paul Archives
Dec 22, 2020 • 23d ago
Critical Thinking: Where, Why, and How [Part 2 of 3]

{"ops":[{"insert":"Richard Paul’s introduction to the program for the 7"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" International Conference on Critical Thinking (1989) bore the title, “Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How.” This article was divided into three sections: “The Logically Illogical Animal,” “Knowledge as Thinking,” and “Lower Order Learning.” The second of these appears below.\n \nWe often talk of knowledge as if it could be divorced from thinking, as if it could be gathered up by one person and given to another in the form of a collection of sentences to remember. When we talk in this way we forget that knowledge is by its very nature dependent on thought. Knowledge is produced by thought, organized, evaluated, maintained, and transformed by thought. Knowledge exists, properly speaking, only in minds that have comprehended and justified it through thought. And when we say "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"think"},{"insert":" we mean "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"think critically"},{"insert":". Knowledge is not to be confused with belief nor with symbolic representation of belief. Humans are quite capable of believing things that are false or things to be true without knowing them to be so. A book contains knowledge only in a derivative sense, because only minds can thoughtfully read it and through that process gain knowledge. We often forget this and design instruction as if recall were equivalent to knowledge."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"We need to remember that all knowledge exists in and through critical thought. All the disciplines – Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and so on – are modes of thinking. We know mathematics not to the extent that we can recite mathematical formulas but only to the extent that we can think mathematically. We know science not to the extent that we can recall sentences from our science textbooks but only to the extent that we can think scientifically. We understand Sociology only to the extent that we can think sociologically, History only to the extent that we can think historically, and Philosophy only to the extent that we can think philosophically."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"When we teach Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, and so on in such a way that students pass courses without thinking their way into the knowledge that these subjects make possible, students leave those courses without any more knowledge than they had when they entered them. When we sacrifice thought to gain coverage we sacrifice knowledge at the same time. The issue is not shall we sacrifice knowledge to spend time on thought, but shall we continue to sacrifice both knowledge and thought for the mere appearance of learning, for mislearning, for fragmentary learning, for transitory learning, for inert, confused learning?"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}

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Richard Paul Archives
Dec 15, 2020 • 30d ago
Critical Thinking: Where, Why, and How [Part 1 of 3]

{"ops":[{"insert":"Richard Paul’s introduction to the program for the 7th International Conference on Critical Thinking (1989) bore the title, \"Critical Thinking: What, Why, and How.\" This article was divided into three sections: \"The Logically Illogical Animal,\" \"Knowledge as Thinking,\" and \"Lower Order Learning.\" The first of these appears below.\n\nReaders will note that Dr. Paul's final sentence, though seemingly intended to encourage patience, drastically underestimated how long human societies might take to incorporate critical thinking into formal education.\n\n\nIronically, humans are not simply the only “logical” animal, they are also the only ‘Illogical” animal. They are the only animal that uses meanings – ideas, concepts, analogies, metaphors, models, theories, and explanations – to make sense of things, to understand, predict, and control things. They are also the only animal that uses meanings to negate, contradict, and deceive itself, to misconceive, to distort, and stereotype, to become dogmatic, prejudiced, and narrowminded. Humans are the only animal whose thinking can be characterized in terms like clear, precise, accurate, relevant, consistent, profound, and fair; they are also the only animal whose thinking is often imprecise, vague, inaccurate, irrelevant, superficial, trivial, and biased."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"Critical thinking makes sense in the light of this paradoxical dichotomy. Humans ought not simply trust their instincts. They ought not believe unquestioningly what spontaneously occurs to them. They ought not accept as true everything taught as true. They ought not assume their experience is unbiased. They need to form, they are not born with, intellectually sound standards for belief, for truth, for validity. They need to cultivate habits and traits which integrate these standards into their lives."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"This logical-illogical dichotomy of human nature has implications for human learning. One can learn by means of the rational capacities of the human mind or through its irrational propensities. There are profound reasons for cultivating the capacity of the human mind to discipline and direct its thought through commitment to intellectual standards. Unfortunately much academic learning is of a lower order: undisciplined, associative, and inert. Much of it is an obstacle rather than an aid to education. Much of it is a block to genuine understanding."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"What students often learn well – that school is a place to repeat back what the teacher or textbook said – blocks the student from thinking seriously about what he or she is learning. Though there are circumstances in everyday life where lower order rote learning is sufficient, those circumstances are diminishing rapidly. At the same time the damage done by multiple forms of prejudice and narrowmindedness – academic, social, personal, professional, religious, racial, national, and ideological – continues to mount. The irony is that higher order learning can be cultivated in almost any academic setting. By focusing on the rational capacities of students’ minds, by designing instruction so that students explicitly grasp the sense, the logicalness, of what they are learning, we can make all additional learning easier for them."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"The question of whether schools can do a better job of teaching American children “higher order skills” is very much in the air. It arises in Congressional hearings, where calls are heard for school graduates better able to take on work that requires responsibility and judgment. It is reflected in public concern that changing employment demands are not being met, students’ preparation for college is less than satisfactory, and general problem-solving abilities remain low."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"Recognition of the social, political and moral implications of lower order learning is growing with the recognition that both developed and underdeveloped nations face complex problems that cannot be solved except with significant intellectual growth on the part of large masses of people. Such growth presupposes increased reflective and critical thinking about deep-seated problems of environmental damage, human relations, over-population, rising expectations, diminishing resources, global competition, personal goals, and ideological conflict."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"This problem of lower order learning will not be solved outside of school, for the lay person is increasingly bombarded with diverse contradictory explanations and prescriptions. Lacking experience with complex thinking, unused to critical thinking, the ordinary person retreats in the face of complexity to simplistic traditional pictures of the world. The growing mass media feed this demand for simple-minded answers. If schools and colleges do not cultivate a shift from rote memorization to critical thinking, there is little possibility that the shift will significantly occur outside of school."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"To affect this shift, teachers and professors must consider new a concept of knowledge, learning, and literacy, one more in tune with the modern world, one that links the acquisition of knowledge with dialogical and dialectical thinking, with the development of minds at home with complexity and ambiguity, able to adjust their thinking to accelerating changes, minds not fixated on present beliefs, not easily manipulated or taken in by propaganda. The theoretical foundation for this need and the appropriate way to meet it is now accumulating a solid research base. Its academic implementation is merely beginning: its full development around the world is probably 10 to 25 years in the future."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}

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Linda Elder
Dec 12, 2020 • 33d ago
Strive to Be a Person of Integrity: Beware of Your Own Hypocrisy

{"ops":[{"insert":"People are hypocritical in at least three ways. First, they tend to have higher standards for those with whom they disagree than they have for themselves or their friends. Second, they often fail to live in accordance with their professed beliefs. Third, they often fail to see contradictions in the behavior of people with whom they identify (such as people of high status).\n \nHypocrisy, then, is a state of mind unconcerned with honesty. It is often marked by unconscious contradictions and inconsistencies. Because the mind is naturally egocentric, it is naturally hypocritical.\n\nYet at the same time, it can skillfully rationalize whatever it thinks and does. In other words, the human mind naturally wants to see itself in a positive light. The appearance of integrity is important to the egocentric mind. This is why, as humans, we actively hide our hypocrisy from ourselves and from others (through self-deception and rationalization).\n \nFor example, though we may be frequently selfish, we almost never see ourselves in this light. But we readily see selfishness in others. In other words, it is okay for me to be selfish, but not for you to be selfish. Although we expect others to adhere to much more rigid standards than the standards we impose on ourselves, we see ourselves as fair. For instance, the bookkeeper who steals money from her company may deceive herself into believing the company “owes” her that money, because the company has never paid her what she is worth, or, she might reason that the business is highly lucrative so should pay her more, and so on. All are rationalizations that enable her to hide from the truth.\n \nThough we profess certain beliefs, we often fail to behave in accordance with those beliefs. Only to the extent that our beliefs and actions are consistent, only when we say what we mean and mean what we say, do we have intellectual integrity.\n \nWhen you resolve to live a life of integrity, you routinely examine your own inconsistencies and face them truthfully, without excuses. You want to know the truth about yourself. You want to know the truth in others. By facing your own hypocrisy, you begin to grow beyond it (while recognizing that you can never get full command of your hypocrisy because you can never get full command of your egocentricity). When you recognize it in others (especially those of status), they are less able to manipulate you.\n \nStart to become more aware of contradictions or hypocrisy in your behavior and the behavior of others today. Catch yourself using double standards. Notice when others do. Because hypocrisy is a natural human tendency, theoretically this should be easy. Look closely at what people say they believe.\n\nCompare this with what their behavior implies. Dig out inconsistencies in your thinking and behavior. Notice when you profess a belief, and then act in contradiction to that belief. Notice how you justify or rationalize inconsistencies in your behavior. Figure out the consequences of your hypocrisy. Does it enable you to get what you want without having to face the truth about yourself? Figure out the consequences of others’ hypocrisies. However, if you don’t see hypocrisy in yourself, look again and again and again.\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#6e6e6e"},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Strategies for reducing hypocrisy in yourself:"},{"insert":"\n• Begin to notice situations in which you expect more from others than you do from yourself. Target the areas of your greatest hypocrisy (these are usually areas in which you are emotionally involved). Do you expect more from your spouse than you do from yourself? From your coworkers? From your subordinates? From your children?\n• Write a list of beliefs that seem most important to you. Then identify situations in which your behavior is inconsistent with those beliefs (where you say one thing and do another). Realize that what you believe is embedded in your actions, not your words. What does your behavior tell you about yourself? For\nexample, you might say that you love someone while often failing to behave in accordance with his or her interests. Or, you might say your intellectual development is important to you while in fact spending little time on it.\n• Think about the way you are living your life. Are you living a life of integrity where your motives are transparent? Or, are you hiding something significant? If so, what are you hiding, and more importantly, why are you doing this? How can you face your hypocrisy? What do you need to change about yourself or your situation?\n \n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Strategies for noticing hypocrisy in others:"},{"insert":"\n1. Observe the people around you. Begin to analyze the extent to which they say one thing and do another. Compare their words to their deeds. For example, notice how often people claim to\nlove someone they criticize behind the person’s back. This is a common form of bad faith.\n2. Think about the people you are closest to—your partner, spouse, children, or friends. To what extent can you identify hypocrisy or integrity in these relationships? To what extent do they say what they mean and mean what they say? What problems are caused by their hypocrisy?\n-----\n \nThis blog piece was adapted from "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"30 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living"},{"insert":" by Linda Elder and Richard Paul, 2013, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, pp. 51-53.\n"}]}

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Richard Paul Archives
Dec 08, 2020 • 37d ago
"The Heart and Core of Educational Reform"

{"ops":[{"insert":"The following, written by Richard Paul, is the introduction appearing in the program for the Third International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform (1985).\n\n\nWe have every reason to believe that critical thinking ought to be the"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" heart and core of educational reform. If a person is adept at thinking critically, she is adept at gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, and assessing information, as well as identifying misinformation, disinformation, prejudice, and one-sidedness. A student with such skills will have the tools of life-long learning. Such skills are developed in a strong sense only when students are given extensive and continuing opportunities to construct and assess lines of reasoning from multiple conflicting points of view. Because of the human mind's spontaneous tendency to egocentric and sociocentric reasoning, it is essential that students reason dialectically or dialogically, that is, empathize with and reason within points of view they oppose as well as within those they support. If children do not grow up with a rich and varied backlog of such experiences, they will not develop genuine fairmindedness. The time to begin this process is no later than the preschool stage. This is where the foundation for fairness to others must be laid. It should be an essential part of the core of all schooling thereafter. "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"Such a goal is both cognitive and affective, for emotions and beliefs are"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" always inseparably wedded together. When we describe ourselves as driven by irrational emotions, we are also driven by the irrational beliefs which structure and support them. When we conquer an irrational emotion through the use of our reason, we do it through the utilization of rational passions. It is only the development of rational passions that prevents our intelligence from becoming the tool of our egocentric emotions and the self-serving points of view embedded in them. A passionate drive for clarity, accuracy, and fair-mindedness, a fervor for getting to the bottom of things, to the deepest root issues, for listening sympathetically to opposition points of view, a compelling drive to seek out evidence, an intense aversion to contradiction, sloppy thinking, inconsistent application of standards, a devotion to truth as against self-interest – these are essential components of the rational person. It enables her to assent rationally to a belief even when it is ridiculed by others, to question what is passionately believed and socially sanctioned, to conquer the fear of abandoning a long and deeply held belief. There is nothing passive, bland, or complacent about such a person. All human action requires the marshalling of human energy. All human action presupposes a driving force. We must care about something to do something about it. Emotions, feelings, passions of some kind or other are part of the root of all human behavior. What we should want to free ourselves from is not emotion, feeling, or passion per se, but irrational emotions, irrational feelings and irrational passions. A highly developed intellect can be used for good or ill at the service of rational or irrational passions."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"The educational reform needed then is not a return to the past but the"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" forging of a new beginning, one in which for the first time, schools become focused on critical thinking and dialogical learning. The role and education for both the teacher and the student needs to be reanalyzed and reconceptualized. Teachers need coursework in critical thinking as well as in its application to curriculum. They need instructors in those courses who model critical thinking. They need intensive field experience involving the observation of master teachers and supervised practice. They need to be valued as critical thinkers and given increasing professional autonomy. They need to be involved in the development of standards of practice in critical thinking. They need regular time to meet with colleagues to observe and learn from each other's successes and failures. They need access to critical thinking materials. They need to join with the administrators and parents in making a commitment to school environment conducive to critical thinking. Such needs will not be met without funds: funds to thoroughly train staff (with long-term follow-up), funds for teacher release time, funds for staff to attend conferences, for instructional materials, for after-school committee work, etc. . . . Quality in education will not come out of pure commitment and dedication."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"insert":"On the college level we need strategies for getting beyond narrow"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" disciplinary and technical loyalties and commitments so typically strong in departmentally organized curricula. By spending the bulk of one's time writing and thinking within the confines of one field of knowledge, or worse, within one narrow specialty of that field, one loses sight of the place of that part within the whole. The student then is serially tested within \"parts,\" with little incentive to try to synthesize the parts into a whole. Such a task is not merely an \"additive\" one, but requires that students assess the parts for conflicts and contradictions, and use each to correct the others. Few college students make any real progress in this difficult and unrewarding task."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"The problem of educational reform is therefore a long-term problem, requiring long-term as well as short-term strategies, and requiring a reallocation of social resources. We could make no wiser decision than to make a commitment to become a nation of educated and fair-minded people. Then we would have not only a large pool of talent to solve our technical and scientific problems, but also a citizenry with the critical faculties and ethical dispositions to work cooperatively toward solutions to the vexing problems which increasingly threaten the very survival of humankind in the world."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}

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Linda Elder
Nov 30, 2020 • 45d ago
Recommended Movie - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

{"ops":[{"insert":"I am pleased to see a growing number of documentary genre movies and TV series now being spread across the world and brought to us, through, for instance Netflix, as well as a number of independent film production companies across the world. These movies come to us essentially in the form of historical dramas or movies based on real events. Of course, varying degrees of "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"accuracy"},{"insert":" are represented within and among these movies, with some writers, producers, and directors doing a far better job of adhering to this central standard.\n \nThese films, if well-produced, can help us better understand one another as members of the same species, with common needs, desires, goals and emotions. They can help us better understand our differences, and see things from a multicultural perspective. They can help us see how people less fortunate struggle in conditions hardly imaginable to those of us living in wealthy countries like the U.S.\n \nOne highly inspiring movie I recommend is "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, "},{"insert":"which you can view at "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Netflix"},{"insert":", at least at the moment. It is a testament to intellectual curiosity and intellectual autonomy, to the power of ideas, to confidence in reason, and to the importance of open and free educational access for everyone (assuming it is actually education and not indoctrination). This film should remind us of the great divide between those who have their needs met and those forced to claw and scrape just to stay alive in this so contemporary era of the 21"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"st"},{"insert":" century. It should remind us of the song,\n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother"},{"insert":" …"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"No burden is he to bear, we’ll get there."},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"It’s a long long road from which there is no return."},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"While we’re on the way to there, why not share…"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"and the load doesn’t weigh me down at all…"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"he’s my brother…he ain’t heavy…"},{"attributes":{"indent":2},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"The movie should help us empathize with the plight of domestic animals in undeveloped countries, who are often the last ones fed. And it should help each of us perceive the immense power we ourselves hold in our hands, should we apply ourselves and try to create good with our power.\n \nYou can read about the movie in David Sims’ helpful article in "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Atlantic "},{"insert":"entitled: Netflix’s "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a Winner. "},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"FEBRUARY 27, 2019"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#954f72","link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n \nI suggest you watch the film before reading the editorial.\n \nThe film is based on the book:\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0f1111","italic":true},"insert":"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0f1111"},"insert":", July 27, 2010"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0f1111"},"insert":"by "},{"attributes":{"color":"#007185","link":""},"insert":"William Kamkwamba"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0f1111"},"insert":"  (Author), "},{"attributes":{"color":"#007185","link":""},"insert":"Bryan Mealer"},{"attributes":{"color":"#0f1111"},"insert":"  "},{"insert":"(Contributor)\n \nI welcome your comments on the film. What other insights did you get from watching the film?\n"}]}

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Linda Elder
Nov 19, 2020 • 56d ago
International Critical Thinking Manifesto

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"align":"center"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"align":"center"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"With many academicians across the world now arguing for critical thinking, it is essential that we agree up the essential principles of critical thinking. A vague conception, or disagreement about core conceptions of critical thinking, will not lead to the changes in society we so desperately need.\n\nHere is our Critical Thinking Manifesto, which we would like to see adopted by all educators in all schools, colleges and universities in every country in the world:\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"History and Philosophy of Critical Thinking"},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":"#_ftn1"},"insert":"[1]"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nCritical thinking is integral to education and rationality and, as an idea, is traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practices and educational ideals of Socrates. Criticality has played a seminal role in the emergence of academic disciplines and the questions that have given rise to them. Knowledge, in other words, has been discovered and verified by the distinguished critical thinkers of intellectual, scientific, and technological history. For the majority of the idea’s history, however, critical thinking has been \"buried\", a conception in practice without an explicit name. In the past forty years, however, critical thinking has undergone something of an awakening, a coming-out, a first major social expression, which could, if taken seriously, signal a turning-point in its history and the future of the human species.\n \nThis awakening is correlated with a growing awareness that if education is to produce critical thinkers "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"en masse"},{"insert":", if it is to globally cultivate nations of skilled thinkers and innovators rather than a dearth of thinkers amid an army of intellectually unskilled, undisciplined, and uncreative followers, then a renaissance and re-emergence of the idea of critical thinking as integral to the advancement of the human species is necessary. Such a reawakening and recognition began in the later 1930's and then surfaced in various forms in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, reaching its most public expression in the 1980’s and into the present. Nevertheless, despite growing scholarship in critical thinking, and perhaps largely due to the disjointed and fragmented efforts to embody it in educational practice, the educational and social acceptance of critical thinking is still in its infancy, still largely misunderstood, still existing more in stereotype than in substance, more in appearance than reality.\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nThose who support this critical thinking manifesto are committed to the highest standards of excellence in critical thinking instruction across the curriculum at all levels of education. They are therefore concerned with the proliferation of poorly conceived \"thinking skills\" programs with their simplistic — often slick — approaches to both thinking and instruction. If critical thinking is ever to genuinely take root in education and among human societies, it is essential that the formidable obstacles to its embodiment be recognized and addressed – namely the problem of egocentric and sociocentric thinking found in all academic fields, every profession, and all parts of human life. \n \nTo this end, sound standards of critical thinking must be made accessible by clear articulation and the means set up for large-scale dissemination of that articulation. The nature and challenge of authentic critical thinking as an educational ideal must not be allowed to sink into the murky background of educational reform, while superficial or ambiguous ideas become its substitute. Critical thinking must assume its proper place at the hub of educational reform and restructuring. Critical thinking — and intellectual and social development generally — are not well-served when educational discussion is inundated with superficial conceptions of critical thinking and facile merchandising of \"thinking skills\" programs while substantial — and necessarily more challenging conceptions and programs — are thrust aside, obscured, or ignored.\n \n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Goals of the International Critical Thinking Manifesto:"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nThe goals of the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"International Critical Thinking Manifesto"},{"insert":" are as follows:\n \n1)   to articulate, preserve, and foster the highest standards of research, scholarship, and instruction in critical thinking,\n \n2)   to articulate the standards upon which \"quality\" thinking is based and the criteria by means of which thinking, and instruction for thinking, can be appropriately cultivated and assessed,\n \n3)   to provide the intellectual underpinnings needed to assess programs which claim to foster higher order, critical thinking,\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Founding Principles of the International Critical Thinking Manifesto:"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n1)   There is an intimate interrelation between knowledge and thinking.\n \n2)   Knowing that something is so is not simply a matter of believing that it is so, it also entails being justified in that belief. (Definition: knowledge is "},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"justified"},{"insert":" true belief.)\n \n3)   There are general as well as domain-specific standards for the assessment of thinking.\n \n4)   To achieve knowledge in any domain, it is essential to think critically.\n \n5)   Proper criteria for assessing thinking in all domains are based on general standards such as: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, significance, fairness, logic, depth, and breadth, and sufficiency."},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"These standards, and others, re embedded not only in the history of the intellectual and scientific communities but also in the self-assessing behavior of reasonable persons in everyday life. It is possible to teach all subjects in such a way as to encourage the use of these intellectual standards in both professional and personal life.\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n6)   Instruction in critical thinking should increasingly enable students to assess both their own thought and action and that of others by reference, ultimately, to essential intellectual standards. Instruction based on critical thinking should lead progressively to a disciplining of the mind and a self-chosen commitment to a life of intellectual and moral integrity.\n \n7)   Instruction in all subjects and fields should result in advancing students’ capacities and dispositions to think critically within that domain. Hence, instruction in science should lead to disciplined scientific thinking; instruction in mathematics should lead to disciplined mathematical thinking; instruction in history should lead to disciplined historical thinking; and in a parallel manner in every discipline and domain of learning.\n \n8)   Disciplined thinking within any subject entails the capacity on the part of the thinker to recognize, analyze, and assess the basic elements of thought: the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"purpose"},{"insert":" or goal of the thinking; the problem or "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"question"},{"insert":" at issue; the frame of reference or "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"points of view"},{"insert":" involved; the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"assumptions"},{"insert":" that give rise to the thinking; central "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"concepts"},{"insert":", ideas, and principles underlying the thinking; evidence, data, or "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"information"},{"insert":" advanced in support of the reasoning; "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"inferences"},{"insert":" and conclusions drawn from the information and assumptions; and "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"implications"},{"insert":" and consequences that follow from the reasoning.\n \n9)   Reasoning at the highest level entails embracing, actively working toward, and eventually embodying intellectual virtues such as "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"intellectual humility, intellectual empathy, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, fairmindedness "},{"insert":"and"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" confidence in reason"},{"insert":".\n \n10) Critical reading, writing, speaking, and listening are essential modes of learning in all academic fields. To be developed they must be systematically cultivated in a variety of subject domains as well as across disciplines. Each of these modes of learning are successful only to the extent that they are disciplined and guided through critical thought and reflection.\n \n11) The earlier that children develop sensitivity to the standards of sound thought and the intellectual virtues of the fairminded person, the more likely they will develop desirable intellectual habits and become openminded persons responsive to reasonable persuasion.\n \n12) "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Education"},{"insert":" — in contrast to "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"training"},{"insert":", "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"socialization"},{"insert":", and "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"indoctrination"},{"insert":" — implies a process conducive to critical thought and judgment. It is intrinsically committed to the cultivation of reasonability and rationality.\n \n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Defining Critical Thinking"},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":"#_ftn2"},"insert":"[2]"},{"insert":"\nCritical 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 intellectual standards that transcend subject matter divisions: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, depth, breadth, fairness "},{"insert":"and"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" sufficiency."},{"insert":" Critical thinking entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"purpose"},{"insert":", "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"question-at-issue"},{"insert":"; "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"assumptions; concepts"},{"insert":"; "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"information"},{"insert":"; "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"inferences"},{"insert":" and conclusions; "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"implications"},{"insert":" and consequences; and the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"point of view"},{"insert":" from which the reasoning occurs. Critical thinking is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, ethical thinking, and philosophical thinking.\n \nThe level of critical thinking of any kind is never wholly consistent in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion. For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor.\n \nProperly conceived, then, critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking that attempts to reason fairmindedly at the highest level of quality. People who consistently think critically attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathetically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They routinely use critical thinking concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to embody, throughout all areas of their lives, intellectual virtues such. They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, irrationalities, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can, thereby contributing to a more rational, egalitarian, society. At the same time, they recognize the complexities inherent in doing so.  They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others. They recognize the difficulties in developing as thinkers and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement. They embody the Socratic principle:  "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The unexamined life is not worth living"},{"insert":".  \n\n-----\n\n"},{"attributes":{"link":"#_ftnref1"},"insert":"[1]"},{"insert":" This manifesto was adapted from the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"original statement and defining articles of the National Council on Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987, "},{"insert":"which has yet to become realized in the U.S. or abroad.\n\n"},{"attributes":{"link":"#_ftnref2"},"insert":"[2]"},{"insert":" This definition was adapted from the 1987 definition of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking by Richard Paul and Michael Scriven and presented at the 8"},{"attributes":{"script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"insert":" Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, summer 1987, as well as the brief conceptualization of critical thinking by Linda Elder – both of which can be found at\n"}]}

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