Critical thinking

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Thinking hardly
or hardly thinking?

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Major trains of thought
The good, the bad
and the brain fart
Come to think of it
We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
Republican Party of Texas 2012 platform

Critical thinking, an approach to gathering data and making inferences about the world, draws heavily on ideas from the scientific revolution and advocates an approach of data acquisition and rational assessment. People applying critical thinking aim to collect as much relevant data as possible, and then to assess that data for accuracy, and finally to use the data to arrive at the most justified conclusions possible. Critical thinking is an ongoing process and even ideas that one feels are well-supported need to be occasionally reevaluated to see if new information might change one's mind.

Critical thinking uses many aspects of formal logic and informal logic. It also focuses on discovering and unmasking bias, propaganda, delusion and deception - both in the sources of one's information and in one's own views and approaches to reasoning problems out.

Critical thinking skills[edit]

Critical thinking is the key to success.
—Professor Herschel Layton of the Professor Layton video game series

According to the Collegiate Learning Assessment [1], critical thinking skills include the following:

  • determine what information is or is not relevant
  • distinguish between rational and emotional claims
  • separate fact from opinion
  • recognize the ways in which evidence might be limited or compromised
  • spot deception and holes in the arguments of others
  • present personal analysis of the data or information
  • recognize logical flaws in arguments
  • draw connections between discrete sources of data and information
  • select the strongest set of supporting information
  • recognize that a problem may have no clear answer or single answer
  • articulate the argument and the context for that argument
  • correctly and precisely use evidence to defend the argument

The Foundation for Critical Thinking, however, has proffered a more complete list and detailed analysis of critical thinking skills.[2]

In a nutshell[edit]

QualiaSoup provides a brief and educational look at some of the principles of critical thinking.

See also[edit]