All 11 examples in section 2 of this article include inferences, some from hypotheses or options as in Transit , Ferryboat and Disorder , others from something observed as in Weather and Rash.
None of these inferences is formally valid. Rather, they are licensed by general, sometimes qualified substantive rules of inference Toulmin that rest on domain knowledge—that a bus trip takes about the same time in each direction, that the terminal of a wireless telegraph would be located on the highest possible place, that sudden cooling is often followed by rain, that an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug generally shows up soon after one starts taking it.
It is a matter of controversy to what extent the specialized ability to deduce conclusions from premisses using formal rules of inference is needed for critical thinking. Dewey locates logical forms in setting out the products of reflection rather than in the process of reflection.
Experimenting abilities: Knowing how to design and execute an experiment is important not just in scientific research but also in everyday life, as in Rash. Dewey devoted a whole chapter of his How We Think —; — to the superiority of experimentation over observation in advancing knowledge. Experimenting abilities come into play at one remove in appraising reports of scientific studies.
Skill in designing and executing experiments includes the acknowledged abilities to appraise evidence Glaser 6 , to carry out experiments and to apply appropriate statistical inference techniques Facione a: 9 , to judge inductions to an explanatory hypothesis Ennis 9 , and to recognize the need for an adequately large sample size Halpern The Collegiate Learning Assessment Council for Aid to Education makes room for appraisal of study design in both its performance task and its selected-response questions.
Consulting abilities: Skill at consulting sources of information comes into play when one seeks information to help resolve a problem, as in Candidate. Ability to find and appraise information includes ability to gather and marshal pertinent information Glaser 6 , to judge whether a statement made by an alleged authority is acceptable Ennis 84 , to plan a search for desired information Facione a: 9 , and to judge the credibility of a source Ennis 9.
The ability to detect and analyze arguments is recognized as a critical thinking skill by Facione a: 7—8 , Ennis 9 and Halpern Five items out of 34 on the California Critical Thinking Skills Test Facione b, test skill at argument analysis. The College Learning Assessment Council for Aid to Education incorporates argument analysis in its selected-response tests of critical reading and evaluation and of critiquing an argument.
Judging skills and deciding skills: Skill at judging and deciding is skill at recognizing what judgment or decision the available evidence and argument supports, and with what degree of confidence. It is thus a component of the inferential skills already discussed. Lists and tests of critical thinking abilities often include two more abilities: identifying assumptions and constructing and evaluating definitions.
Required Knowledge In addition to dispositions and abilities, critical thinking needs knowledge: of critical thinking concepts, of critical thinking principles, and of the subject-matter of the thinking. We can derive a short list of concepts whose understanding contributes to critical thinking from the critical thinking abilities described in the preceding section. Observational abilities require an understanding of the difference between observation and inference.
Questioning abilities require an understanding of the concepts of ambiguity and vagueness. Inferential abilities require an understanding of the difference between conclusive and defeasible inference traditionally, between deduction and induction , as well as of the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. Experimenting abilities require an understanding of the concepts of hypothesis, null hypothesis, assumption and prediction, as well as of the concept of statistical significance and of its difference from importance.
They also require an understanding of the difference between an experiment and an observational study, and in particular of the difference between a randomized controlled trial, a prospective correlational study and a retrospective case-control study. Argument analysis abilities require an understanding of the concepts of argument, premiss, assumption, conclusion and counter-consideration. Additional critical thinking concepts are proposed by Bailin et al. According to Glaser 25 , ability to think critically requires knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning.
If we review the list of abilities in the preceding section, however, we can see that some of them can be acquired and exercised merely through practice, possibly guided in an educational setting, followed by feedback. But the development of such critical thinking abilities as designing an experiment or constructing an operational definition can benefit from learning their underlying theory.
Further, explicit knowledge of quirks of human thinking seems useful as a cautionary guide. Human memory is not just fallible about details, as people learn from their own experiences of misremembering, but is so malleable that a detailed, clear and vivid recollection of an event can be a total fabrication Loftus Critical thinking about an issue requires substantive knowledge of the domain to which the issue belongs.
Critical thinking abilities are not a magic elixir that can be applied to any issue whatever by somebody who has no knowledge of the facts relevant to exploring that issue.
For example, the student in Bubbles needed to know that gases do not penetrate solid objects like a glass, that air expands when heated, that the volume of an enclosed gas varies directly with its temperature and inversely with its pressure, and that hot objects will spontaneously cool down to the ambient temperature of their surroundings unless kept hot by insulation or a source of heat.
Critical thinkers thus need a rich fund of subject-matter knowledge relevant to the variety of situations they encounter. This fact is recognized in the inclusion among critical thinking dispositions of a concern to become and remain generally well informed.
Educational methods Experimental educational interventions, with control groups, have shown that education can improve critical thinking skills and dispositions, as measured by standardized tests. For information about these tests, see the Supplement on Assessment. What educational methods are most effective at developing the dispositions, abilities and knowledge of a critical thinker? Abrami et al. They also found that in these studies a combination of separate instruction in critical thinking with subject-matter instruction in which students are encouraged to think critically was more effective than either by itself.
However, the difference was not statistically significant; that is, it might have arisen by chance. Most of these studies lack the longitudinal follow-up required to determine whether the observed differential improvements in critical thinking abilities or dispositions continue over time, for example until high school or college graduation. For details on studies of methods of developing critical thinking skills and dispositions, see the Supplement on Educational Methods.
Controversies Scholars have denied the generalizability of critical thinking abilities across subject domains, have alleged bias in critical thinking theory and pedagogy, and have investigated the relationship of critical thinking to other kinds of thinking.
He argued that there are no general thinking skills, since thinking is always thinking about some subject-matter. It is futile, he claimed, for schools and colleges to teach thinking as if it were a separate subject.
Rather, teachers should lead their pupils to become autonomous thinkers by teaching school subjects in a way that brings out their cognitive structure and that encourages and rewards discussion and argument.
As some of his critics e. To make his argument convincing, McPeck needs to explain how thinking differs from writing and speaking in a way that does not permit useful abstraction of its components from the subject-matters with which it deals.
He has not done so. Nevertheless, his position that the dispositions and abilities of a critical thinker are best developed in the context of subject-matter instruction is shared by many theorists of critical thinking, including Dewey , , Glaser , Passmore , Weinstein , and Bailin et al. McPeck argued for a strong subject-specificity thesis, according to which it is a conceptual truth that all critical thinking abilities are specific to a subject.
He did not however extend his subject-specificity thesis to critical thinking dispositions. In particular, he took the disposition to suspend judgment in situations of cognitive dissonance to be a general disposition. Conceptual subject-specificity is subject to obvious counter-examples, such as the general ability to recognize confusion of necessary and sufficient conditions.
A more modest thesis, also endorsed by McPeck, is epistemological subject-specificity, according to which the norms of good thinking vary from one field to another. Epistemological subject-specificity clearly holds to a certain extent; for example, the principles in accordance with which one solves a differential equation are quite different from the principles in accordance with which one determines whether a painting is a genuine Picasso.
But the thesis suffers, as Ennis points out, from vagueness of the concept of a field or subject and from the obvious existence of inter-field principles, however broadly the concept of a field is construed. For example, the principles of hypothetico-deductive reasoning hold for all the varied fields in which such reasoning occurs. A third kind of subject-specificity is empirical subject-specificity, according to which as a matter of empirically observable fact a person with the abilities and dispositions of a critical thinker in one area of investigation will not necessarily have them in another area of investigation.
The thesis of empirical subject-specificity raises the general problem of transfer. If critical thinking abilities and dispositions have to be developed independently in each school subject, how are they of any use in dealing with the problems of everyday life and the political and social issues of contemporary society, most of which do not fit into the framework of a traditional school subject?
Proponents of empirical subject-specificity tend to argue that transfer is more likely to occur if there is critical thinking instruction in a variety of domains, with explicit attention to dispositions and abilities that cut across domains.
But evidence for this claim is scanty. There is a need for well-designed empirical studies that investigate the conditions that make transfer more likely. It is common ground in debates about the generality or subject-specificity of critical thinking dispositions and abilities that critical thinking about any topic requires background knowledge about the topic.
For example, the most sophisticated understanding of the principles of hypothetico-deductive reasoning is of no help unless accompanied by some knowledge of what might be plausible explanations of some phenomenon under investigation.
Commentators e. The critics, however, are objecting to bias in the pejorative sense of an unjustified favoring of certain ways of knowing over others, frequently alleging that the unjustly favoured ways are those of a dominant sex or culture Bailin While these authors acknowledge that such analysis and evaluation is part of critical thinking and should be part of its conceptualization and pedagogy, they insist that it is only a part.
Paul , for example, bemoans the tendency of atomistic teaching of methods of analyzing and evaluating arguments to turn students into more able sophists, adept at finding fault with positions and arguments with which they disagree but even more entrenched in the egocentric and sociocentric biases with which they began.
Martin and Thayer-Bacon cite with approval the self-reported intimacy with their subject-matter of leading researchers in biology and medicine, an intimacy that conflicts with the distancing allegedly recommended in standard conceptions and pedagogy of critical thinking. Thayer-Bacon contrasts the embodied and socially embedded learning of her elementary school students in a Montessori school, who used their imagination, intuition and emotions as well as their reason, with conceptions of critical thinking as thinking that is used to critique arguments, offer justifications, and make judgments about what are the good reasons, or the right answers.
Alston 34 Some critics portray such biases as unfair to women. Her charge does not imply that women as a group are on average less able than men to analyze and evaluate arguments.
Facione c found no difference by sex in performance on his California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Kuhn — found no difference by sex in either the disposition or the competence to engage in argumentative thinking. The critics propose a variety of remedies for the biases that they allege. In general, they do not propose to eliminate or downplay critical thinking as an educational goal.
Rather, they propose to conceptualize critical thinking differently and to change its pedagogy accordingly. Their pedagogical proposals arise logically from their objections. Foster closeness to the subject-matter and feeling connected to others in order to inform a humane democracy Martin In developing critical thinking in school subjects, treat as important neither skills nor dispositions but opening worlds of meaning Alston One can get a vivid description of education with the former type of goal from the writings of bell hooks , She abandons the structure of domination in the traditional classroom.
It incorporates the dialogue, anchored instruction, and mentoring that Abrami found to be most effective in improving critical thinking skills and dispositions. If critical thinking is conceived broadly to cover any careful thinking about any topic for any purpose, then problem solving and decision making will be kinds of critical thinking, if they are done carefully.
If critical thinking is conceived more narrowly as consisting solely of appraisal of intellectual products, then it will be disjoint with problem solving and decision making, which are constructive. For details, see the Supplement on History. As to creative thinking, it overlaps with critical thinking Bailin , Thinking about the explanation of some phenomenon or event, as in Ferryboat , requires creative imagination in constructing plausible explanatory hypotheses.
Likewise, thinking about a policy question, as in Candidate , requires creativity in coming up with options. Conversely, creativity in any field needs to be balanced by critical appraisal of the draft painting or novel or mathematical theory. Bibliography Abrami, Philip C. Bernard, Eugene Borokhovski, David I. Waddington, C. Anderson, Lorin W. Krathwohl, Peter W. Airiasian, Kathleen A.
Cruikshank, Richard E. Mayer, Paul R. Pintrich, James Raths, and Merlin C. Coombs, and Leroi B. Schwartz, William M. Kurtines, and Steven L. Bloom, Benjamin Samuel, Max D. Engelhart, Edward J.
Furst, Walter H. Hill, and David R. Krathwohl, , Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. College Board, , Academic Preparation for College. The circumstances demanding critical thinking vary from industry to industry. Some examples include: A triage nurse analyzes the cases at hand and decides the order by which the patients should be treated. A plumber evaluates the materials that best would suit a particular job. An attorney reviews evidence and devises a strategy to win a case or to decide whether to settle out of court.
A manager analyzes customer feedback forms and uses this information to develop a customer service training session for employees.
Firstly, you can use critical thinking keywords analytical, problem solving, creativity, etc. In the description of your work history, you can include any of the below skills that accurately describe you. What Is Logic? People use words like "logic" and "logical" a lot, often without really understanding what they mean.
Strictly speaking, logic is the science or study of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a science of how arguments must be formed in order to be reasonable or correct. Obviously, a better understanding is critical for helping us reason and think better. Without it, it's too easy for us to fall into error. What Is Critical Thinking? The term "critical thinking" is used often but it isn't always properly understood. Put simply, critical thinking means developing reliable, rational evaluations of an argument or idea.
Critical thinking is a means for separating truth from falsehood and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. It frequently involves finding flaws in the arguments of others, but that's not all that it's about. It's not simply about criticizing ideas, it is about developing the ability to think about ideas with greater critical distance.
Agreement and Disagreement Arguments are about disagreement - people aren't likely to argue over things they agree on.
A person may have a critical thinking disposition with respect to only some kinds of issues. McPeck argued for a strong subject-specificity thesis, according to which it is a conceptual truth that all critical thinking abilities are specific to a subject. The interviewer wants to see you use analysis and evaluation key parts of critical thinking.
Continue Reading. If anything, critical thinking is an essential part of creativity because we need critical thinking to evaluate and improve our creative ideas. This does not only apply to our own beliefs, but also to all the ideas and claims that we regularly encounter.
For example, it is constitutive of good thinking about an issue to formulate the issue clearly and to maintain focus on it. Krathwohl, , Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Critical thinking is a means for separating truth from falsehood and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. The driver suggests that the reason may be that the diamond marks are not needed where there is a solid double line separating the diamond line from the adjoining lane, but are needed when there is a dotted single line permitting crossing into the diamond lane. The critics propose a variety of remedies for the biases that they allege.
For details on this history, see the Supplement on History. This is especially true for those who are caught up in the midst of a disagreement. Someone you know? Was it before, during or after an important event?
Thayer-Bacon contrasts the embodied and socially embedded learning of her elementary school students in a Montessori school, who used their imagination, intuition and emotions as well as their reason, with conceptions of critical thinking as thinking that is used to critique arguments, offer justifications, and make judgments about what are the good reasons, or the right answers. The rash might be a heat rash, since she recently was sweating profusely from her upper body. Continue Reading. If anything, critical thinking is an essential part of creativity because we need critical thinking to evaluate and improve our creative ideas. Conversely, creativity in any field needs to be balanced by critical appraisal of the draft painting or novel or mathematical theory. Some I take out holding mouth downward in order to prevent cold air from entering.
Political and business leaders endorse its importance. Identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning. Critical thinking is significant in the learning process of internalization , in the construction of basic ideas, principles, and theories inherent in content. Epistemological subject-specificity clearly holds to a certain extent; for example, the principles in accordance with which one solves a differential equation are quite different from the principles in accordance with which one determines whether a painting is a genuine Picasso.
Educational methods Experimental educational interventions, with control groups, have shown that education can improve critical thinking skills and dispositions, as measured by standardized tests. Think about times when you had to analyze or evaluate materials to solve a problem.
The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind. They are full of easy-to-follow practical information that will help you to learn more effectively and get better grades. Rash: A woman suddenly develops a very itchy red rash on her throat and upper chest. Besides, the more natural place for such a terminal would be the highest part of the boat, on top of the pilot house. For such issues, a more dialectical process is advocated, in which competing relevant world views are identified, their implications explored, and some sort of creative synthesis attempted.
The ability to think clearly and rationally is important whatever we choose to do.
If you work in education, research, finance, management or the legal profession, then critical thinking is obviously important. It's easiest to see government propaganda in the context of wartime. Morevoer, the pilot being near the front of the boat, he would need some such guide as to its direction. It incorporates the dialogue, anchored instruction, and mentoring that Abrami found to be most effective in improving critical thinking skills and dispositions. They are essential to making good decisions and forming sound beliefs about our world.