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Austin Cline

Philosophy Fundamentals: What is Critical Thinking?

By September 15, 2012

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The term 'critical thinking' is used, in one form or another, throughout this site - but what does it mean? Some may get the impression that it simply involves finding fault with others and others' ideas, but that isn't really the case. As a general rule, critical thinking involves developing some emotional and intellectual distance between yourself and ideas - whether your own or others' - in order to better evaluate their truth, validity, and reasonableness.


Read Article: What is Critical Thinking?

February 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm
(1) Ron says:

Austin! If everybody employed critical thinking, no one would get married!!!!! :)

February 11, 2008 at 11:32 pm
(2) Kim says:

Ha, Ron, I second that one! :)

February 12, 2008 at 10:08 am
(3) Tom T says:

If when you employ critical thinking to examine your marriage you don’t think you should be there, then perhaps you should re-think the relationship

September 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm
(4) ChuckA says:

Thanks, Austin, for the repost.
This is such an important subject; which, IMO, should be taught in school_as early as possible. The old notion of the “age of Reason” (age 7?) is rather meaningless, if children are not made aware of, as well as being actually TAUGHT, critical thinking skills.
The first thing, traditionally, that most parents impart to their children is the totally UN-critical concept of “believing”…without any evidence; and even the idea of questioning what is taught, is often discouraged; usually for religious reasons.
Of course, early instruction regarding critical thinking could be integrated into various Science related subjects.
My own personal experience, growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, in Catholic schools, doesn’t bring to mind any mention of the topic…for obvious reasons.
IOW, I’m not “hip” to what goes on in our current public schools; so I would defer to others more familiar than I on that subject.
Somehow, seeing what’s going on in all the rather vicious public hoopla regarding Economics, Politics and religion, I doubt that there’s been very much change in that; certainly, it would seem, not near enough attention has been paid to the subject of critical thinking.

September 16, 2009 at 12:54 am
(5) Gerald says:

I teach in a public high school. I include elements of logic and critical thinking in my history courses when and where I can, and I know that I could do more, but the curriculum is pretty prescribed. I know that a semester elective course on philosophy or critical thinking would be welcomed in my school. Does anyone have a lead on curriculum or texts that would be suitable for high school students, and doable for novice as well as experienced teachers? Much thanks.

September 20, 2009 at 5:54 pm
(6) DaveInLV says:

Critical thinking in one sentence:

Can the omnipotent god make a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

Ditto for omnipresence and omniscience.

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