Virtuous Virtues
Commit to Intellectual Virtues: The hallmark of the strong-sense critical thinker is the embodiment of and deep commitment to intellectual virtues, or the development of intellectual character. Yet, the extent to which anyone lives in accordance with these virtues on a daily basis is a matter of degree. No one can achieve the status of ideal thinker, exhibiting these characteristics at all times. This is why the most advanced thinkers see themselves as “aspiring critical thinkers” rather than fully “critical thinkers.”
Intellectual virtues include, but are not limited to: fairmindedness, intellectual perseverance, intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual empathy, intellectual courage, intellectual curiosity, intellectual discipline, confidence in reason, and intellectual autonomy.

Intellectual traits are interdependent. Each is fully developed only in conjunction with the development of the others. They develop only through years of commitment and practice. They cannot be forced upon you, but can be cultivated through encouragement and example.
By working through the activities in this section you will begin to better understand intellectual virtues and how to develop them. Many of these activities were slightly modified from activities that can be found in the book: Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of your Professional and Personal Life by Linda Elder and Richard Paul (2014, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall). This book is also recommended for deeper understanding of intellectual virtues.

Video Series

Intellectual Virtues

Critical thinking is not just a set of intellectual skills. It is a way of orienting oneself in the world, and a way of approaching problems that differs significantly from that which is typical in human life. People may have critical thinking skills and abilities, yet still be unable to enter viewpoints with which they disagree. They may have critical thinking abilities, yet still be unable to analyze the beliefs that guide their behavior. They may have critical thinking abilities, yet be unable to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t, to persevere through difficult problems and issues, to think fairmindedly, and to stand alone against the crowd. This video collection focuses on intellectual traits that transform the mind - virtues that foster the development of fairmindedness, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason.

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Read more about intellectual virtues before beginning these activities...

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