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Definitions – John Dewey

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1 Definitions – John Dewey
Critical thinking is: The active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge, in the light of the grounds which support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends. Note that beliefs should be supported, and their consequences can help us be critical about them.

2 Edward Glaser on Dewey Critical thinking according to Dewey is: - An attitude of being disposed to consider, in a thoughtful way, the problems and and subjects that come within the range of one’s experience. - Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and some skill in applying those methods. It calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge, in the light of the evidence that supports it, and the further conclusions to which it tends.

3 Definitions – Robert Ennis
Critical thinking is: Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focussed on deciding what to believe or do. Note the emphasis on deciding and on acting.

4 Definitions – Richard Paul
Critical thinking is: That mode of thinking – about any subject, content or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his thinking, by skilfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. Note the emphasis on generality and standards.

5 Definitions – Michael Scriven
Critical thinking is: Skilled and active interpretation and evaluation of observations and communications, information and argumentation. Note accent on communication and argumentation.

6 Definitions – Wikipedia 1
Critical thinking consists of a mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. It forms a process of reflecting upon the meaning of statements, examining the offered evidence and reasoning, and forming judgments about the facts.

7 Definitions – Wikipedia 2
Critical thinkers can gather such information from observation, experience, reasoning, and/or communication. Critical thinking has its basis in intellectual values that go beyond subject-matter divisions and which include: clarity, accuracy, precision, evidence, thoroughness and fairness.

8 Definitions – Wikipedia 3
The process of critical thinking involves acquiring information and evaluating it to reach a well-justified conclusion or answer. Part of critical thinking comprises informal logic. Given research in cognitive psychology, educators increasingly believe that schools should focus more on teaching their students critical thinking skills than on memorizing facts by rote-learning.

9 Definitions – William G. Sumner 1
Critical thinking is: The examination and test of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not. The critical faculty is a product of education and training. It is a mental habit and power.

10 Definitions – William G. Sumner 2
Critical thinking is such a prime condition of human welfare that men and women should be trained in it. Critical thinking is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, and misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances.

11 Bootstrap Think critically about ... critical thinking !
Critical thinking is ... critical !

12 Argumentation - 1 We often encounter situations in which someone is trying to persuade us of a point of view by presenting reasons for it. This is called “arguing a case” or “presenting an argument”. We can also argue with ourselves.

13 Argumentation - 2 Sometimes it is easy to see what the issues and conclusions are, and the reasons presented, but sometimes not. Before we evaluate and argue a point of view we must identify its issues, conclusions, and reasons. And then clearly present our own.

14 Asking the right questions - 1
What are the issues and the conclusions? What are the reasons? Which words or phrases are ambiguous? What are the value conflicts and assumptions? What are the descriptive assumptions? Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?

15 Asking the right questions - 2
How good is the evidence? Are there rival causes? Are the statistics deceptive? What significant information is omitted? What reasonable conclusions are possible? Are the best practice precepts followed?

16 What are the issues and conclusions? - 1
Before we can evaluate an author’s argument, we must clearly identify the issues and conclusions. How can we evaluate an argument if we don’t know exactly what the author is trying to persuade us to believe? Finding an author’s main points is the first step in deciding whether we will accept or reject it.

17 What are the issues and conclusions? - 2
An issue is a question or controversy responsible for the conversation or discussion. It is the stimulus for what is being said. Descriptive issues are those that raise questions about the accuracy of descriptions of the past, present, or future. Prescriptive issues are those that raise questions about what we should do, or what is right or wrong, good or bad. A conclusion is the message that the speaker or writer wishes you to accept.

18 What are the issues and conclusions? - 3
Clues for finding them: Ask what the issue is: look at title and opening paragraphs; skim through. Look for indicator words: the truth is, hence, ... Look in likely locations: beginning, end, summary. Remember what a conclusion is not: examples, ... Check the author’s context: background, organizations, bias, ... Ask the question “and therefore?”

19 What are the reasons? - 1 Once we have identified an issue and conclusion, we need to understand why an author has come to that conclusion. Reasons are the Why. If the author provides good reasons, we might be persuaded to accept the conclusion. First, we are simply concerned with identifying the reasons. Next, we decide whether to accept or reject it.

20 What are the reasons? - 2 Inferential reasons are explanations offered as a basis for why we should believe a particular conclusion. They rely on facts, evidence, assumptions, and inferences. They have an intent. Their quality varies. Argument = Conclusion + Reasons We distinguish inferential from causal reasons.

21 What are the reasons? - 3 Clues for finding them:
Circle indicator words. Underline reasons and conclusions in different colour, and label them. After reading long passages, make a list of the reasons and conclusions in them. Use a diagram structure with arrows and labels to designate relationships between reasons and conclusions.

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