Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life / Edition 2

Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life / Edition 2

2.8 20
by Richard Paul, Linda Elder

ISBN-10: 0131149628

ISBN-13: 9780131149625

Pub. Date: 07/28/2005

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Critical Thinking is about becoming a better thinker in every aspect of your life: in your career, and as a consumer, citizen, friend, parent, and lover. Discover the core skills of effective thinking; then analyze your own thought processes, identify weaknesses, and overcome them. Learn how to translate more effective thinking into better decisions, less

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Critical Thinking is about becoming a better thinker in every aspect of your life: in your career, and as a consumer, citizen, friend, parent, and lover. Discover the core skills of effective thinking; then analyze your own thought processes, identify weaknesses, and overcome them. Learn how to translate more effective thinking into better decisions, less frustration, more wealth Ñ and above all, greater confidence to pursue and achieve your most important goals in life.

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Prentice Hall
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Table of Contents


A Start-up Definition of Critical Thinking

How Skilled Are You as a Thinker?

Good Thinking Requires Hard Work

The Concept of Critical Thinking

Become a Critic of Your Thinking

Establish New Habits of Thought

Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Reason and Figure Things Out

1. Becoming a Fair-minded Thinker.

Weak vs. Strong Critical Thinking

What Does Fair-Mindedness Require?

Intellectual Humility: Strive to Discover the Extent of Their Ignorance

Intellectual Courage: Develop the Courage to Challenge Popular Beliefs

Intellectual Empathy: Learn to Empathically Enter Opposing Views

Intellectual Integrity: Hold Yourself to the Same Standards to Which They Hold Others

Intellectual Perseverance: Refuse to Give Up Easily, Work Your Way through Complexities and Frustration

Confidence in Reason: Respect Evidence and Reasoning and Value Them as Tools for Discovering the Truth

Intellectual Autonomy: Value Independence of Thought

Recognize the Interdependence of Intellectual Virtues


2. The First Four Stages of Development: At What Level Would You Place Yourself?

Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker

Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker

Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker

Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker

3. Self-Understanding.

Monitor the Egocentrism in Your Thought and Life

Make a Commitment to Fair-Mindedness

Recognize the Mind’s Three Distinctive Functions

Understand That You Have a Special Relationship to Your Mind

Connect Academic Subjects to Your Life and Problems

Learn Both Intellectually and Emotionally

4. The Parts of Thinking.

Reasoning Is Everywhere in Human Life

Reasoning Has Parts

A First Look at the Elements of Thought

An Everyday Example: Jack and Jill

Analysis of the Example

How the Parts of Thinking Fit Together

The Relationship between the Elements

The Best Thinkers Think to Some Purpose

The Best Thinkers Take Command of Concepts

The Best Thinkers Assess Information

Inert Information

Activated Ignorance

Activated Knowledge

The Best Thinkers Distinguish Between Inferences and Assumptions

The Best Thinkers Think through Implications

The Best Thinkers Think across Points of View

The Point of View of the Critical Thinker


5. The Standards for Thinking.

Taking a Deeper Look at Intellectual Standards

Clarity • Accuracy • Precision • Relevance • Depth • Breadth • Logicalness • Significance • Fairness

Bringing Together the Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards

Purpose, Goal, or End in View • Question at Issue or Problem to Be Solved • Point of View or Frame of Reference • Information, Data, Experiences • Concepts, Theories, Ideas • Assumptions • Implications and Consequences • Inferences

Brief Guidelines for Using Intellectual Standards

6. Asking Questions That Lead to Good Thinking.

The Importance of Questioning

Dead Questions Reflect Inert Minds

Three Categories of Questions

Become a Socratic Questioner

Focus Your Thinking on the Type of Question Being Asked • Focus Your Questions on Universal Intellectual Standards for Thought • Focus Your Questions on the Elements of Thought • Focus Your Questions on Prior Questions • Focus Your Questions on Domains of Thinking


7. Master the Thinking, Master the Content.

Go Beyond Superficial Memorization to Deep Learning

The Relation of Content to Thinking

Understand Content through Thinking and Thinking through Content

All Content is Organized by Concepts

All Content is Logically Interdependent

Think Through Your Classes Using Your Knowledge of Thinking

A Caution

8. Discover How the Best Thinkers Learn.

18 Ideas for Improving Your Studies

The Logic of a Typical College Class

Becoming a Skilled Thinker

The Design of a Typical College Class and the Typical College Student

Figure Out the Underlying Concept of Your Courses

Figure Out the Form of Thinking Essential to Courses or Subjects

Think Within the Logic of the Subject

A Case: The Logic of Biochemistry

Make the Design of the Course Work for You

Sample Course: American History, 1600—1800

Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Thinking

Figure Out the Logic of an Article or Essay

Figure Out the Logic of a Textbook

Criteria for Evaluating an Author’s Reasoning

A Test to Repeat in Every Class & Subject

9. Redefining Grades as Levels of Thinking and Learning.

Develop Strategies for Assessing Your Learning

Use Student Profiles to Assess Your Performance

Exemplary Students (Grade of A)

High Performing Students (Grade of B)

Mixed-Quality Students (Grade of C)

Low-Performing Students (Grade of D or F)

Apply Student Profiles to Assess Your Performance Within Specific Disciplines

Exemplary Thinking as a Student of Psychology(Grade of A)

High-Performing Thinking as a Student of Psychology(Grade of B)

Mixed-Quality Thinking as a Student of Psychology(Grade of C)

Low-Performing Thinking as a Student of Psychology(Grade of D or F)


10. Making Decisions and Solving Problems.


Evaluating Patterns in Decision-Making

“Big” Decisions

The Logic of Decision-Making

Recognizing the Need for an Important Decision • Accurately Recognizing the Alternatives • Putting More Time into Your Decision-Making • Being Systematic • Dealing with One Major Decision at a Time • Developing Knowledge of Your Ignorance

Dimensions of Decision-Making

The Early Decisions (2—11 Years of Age)

Adolescent Decisions (12—17 Years of Age)



Becoming an Activist Problem-Solver

Evaluating Patterns in Your Problem-Solving

Dissolving Pseudo-Problems

False Needs and Irrational Ends

“Big” Problems

Dimensions of Problem-Solving

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Problem-Solving

Analyze Problems Using the Elements of Thought

The Art of Problem-Solving

11 Deal With Your Irrational Mind.


Understand Egocentric Thinking

Understand Egocentrism as a Mind within the Mind

Successful Egocentric Thinking

Unsuccessful Egocentric Thinking

Rational Thinking

Two Egocentric Functions

Egocentric Domination

Egocentric Submission

Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind

Challenge the Pathological Tendencies of Your Minds

The Challenge of Rationality


The Nature of Sociocentrism

Social Stratification

Sociocentric Thinking Is Unconscious and Potentially Dangerous

Sociocentric Uses of Language

Disclose Sociocentric Thinking through Conceptual Analysis

Reveal Ideology at Work through Conceptual Analysis


Work to Free Yourself from Egocentric and Sociocentric Thought

12. How to Detect Media Bias and Propaganda in National and World News.

Democracy and the News Media

Myths That Obscure the Logic of the News Media

Objectivity in the News Media

Point of View

Forms of Objectivity

The Perception of Bias in the Mainstream

Propaganda and News Story Writing

Protecting the Home Audience from Guilt Feelings

Fostering Sociocentric Thinking

Slanting Stories to Favor Privileged Views

How to Obtain Useful Information from Propaganda and Standard News Stories

Steps in Becoming a Critical Consumer of the “News”

Media Awareness of Media Bias

Sensitivity to Advertisers

Sensitivity to Government

Sensitivity to Powerful Interests

Sensitivity to Their Competitors

The Bias toward “Novelty” and “Sensationalism”

Critical Consumers of the News

Questions for the News Media

Is It Possible for the News Media to Reform?

Is the Emergence of a “Critical Society” Possible?

Finding Alternative Sources of Information

Becoming an Independent Thinker

Buried, Ignored, or Underreported Stories

Using the Internet

Additional Alternative News Sources


An Abbreviated Glossary

13. Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery & Manipulation.

Truth & Deception in the Human Mind

Three Types of Thinkers

Uncritical Persons (intellectually unskilled thinkers)

Skilled Manipulators (weak-sense critical thinkers)

Fair-minded Critical Persons (strong-sense critical thinkers)

The Concept of Fallacies of Thought

Naming Fallacies

Mistakes Versus Fallacies

There is No Exhaustive List of Fallacies

Faulty Generalizations

Analyzing Generalizations

Post Hoc Generalizations

Analogies and Metaphors

44 Foul Ways to Win an Argument

Accuse Your Opponent of Doing What He is Accusing You of or worse

Accuse Him of Sliding down A Slippery Slope (that leads to disaster)

Appeal to Authority

Appeal to Experience

Appeal to Fear

Appeal to Pity (or sympathy)

Appeal to Popular Passions

Appeal to Tradition or Faith (“the tried and true”)

Assume a Posture of Righteousness

Attack the person (and not the argument)

Beg the Question

Call for Perfection (Demand impossible conditions)

Create a False Dilemma (the Great Either/Or)

Devise Analogies (and Metaphors) That Support Your View (even if they are misleading or “false”).

Question Your Opponent’s Conclusions

Create Misgivings: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

Create A Straw Man

Deny or Defend Your Inconsistencies

Demonize His Side Sanitize Yours

Evade Questions, Gracefully

Flatter Your Audience

Hedge What You Say

Ignore the Evidence

Ignore the Main Point

Attack Evidence (That Undermines Your Case)

Insist Loudly on a Minor Point Use the Hard-Cruel-World Argument (to justify doing what is usually considered unethical).

Make (Sweeping) Glittering Generalizations

Make Much of Any Inconsistencies in Your Opponent’s Position

Make Your Opponent Look Ridiculous (“Lost in the Laugh”)

Oversimplify the Issue

Raise Nothing But Objections

Rewrite History (Have It Your Way)

Seek Your Vested Interests

Shift the Ground.

Shift the Burden of Proof

Spin, Spin, Spin

Talk in Vague Generalities.

Talk Double Talk Tell Big Lies Treat Abstract Words and Symbols As If They Were Real Things

Throw In A Red Herring (or two)

Throw in Some Statistics

Use Double Standards (whenever you can)

Fallacy Detection: Analyzing a Speech from the Past

Fallacy Detection: Analyzing a Current Presidential Speech

Fallacy Detection: Analyzing a Speech from a Presidential Candidate

Avoid Two Extremes: 1) Finding Fallacies Only in the Thinking of Others (None in Yourself), and 2) Finding an Equal Number of Fallacies in Everything you Read. Conclusion: Fallacies in an Ideal (And in a Real) World

14. Developing as an Ethical Reasoner.

Why People Are Confused About Ethics

The Fundamentals of Ethical Reasoning

Ethical Concepts and Principles • The Universal Nature of Ethical Principles • Distinguishing Ethics from Other Domains of Thinking • Ethics and Religion • Ethics and Social Conventions • Ethics and the Law • Ethics and Sexual Taboos • Understanding Our Native Selfishness


15. Learning & Using Information Critically & Ethically, Part One: A Critique of Disciplines

The Ideal of Knowledge Acquisition

True Loyalty to a Discipline

The Gap between Fact and Ideal

The Ideal Compared to the Real

The Ideal of Mathematics: Abstract Quantification

The Ideal of Science: Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Biology

The Ideal of Science: History, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Psychology

The Ideal of the Arts and Humanities: Music, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Dance, Literature, Philosophy


16. Learning & Using Information Critically & Ethically, Part Two: The Method & a Model Case

Realistic Understanding

Be a Critic, Not a Cynic

Recognize the Mental Nature of Knowledge

Develop Awareness of the Harm from Misuse of Information

Question Academic and “Expert” Information

Question the Status of Knowledge in a Field

A Model Case: Questioning Psychology and the Mental Health Professions

The Milligram Experiment

Scientific Studies in the Psychology

A Dark Side of the Mental Health Professions

Legitimizing Deeply Held Social Beliefs

Questioning “Psychotherapy”

Learning from Suspect Claims of Psychology and the Mental Health Professions

Thinking Psychologically: A Postscript

17. Strategic Thinking, Part One.

Understanding and Using Strategic Thinking

Components of Strategic Thinking

The Beginnings of Strategic Thinking

Key Idea 1 Thoughts, Feelings, and Desires are Interdependent

Key Idea 2 There Is a Logic to This, and You Can Figure It Out

Key Idea 3 For Thinking to Be of High Quality, We Must Routinely Assess It

18. Strategic Thinking, Part Two.

Key Idea 4 Understanding Our Native Egocentrism as a Default Mechanism

Key Idea 5 We Must Become Sensitive to the Egocentrism of Those around Us

Key Idea 6 The Mind Tends to Generalize Beyond the Original Experience

Key Idea 7 Egocentric Thinking Appears to the Mind as Rational

Key Idea 8 The Egocentric Mind Is Automatic in Nature

Key Idea 9 We Often Pursue Power Through Dominating or Submissive Behavior

Key Idea 10 Humans Are Naturally Sociocentric Animals

Key Idea 11 Developing Rationality Requires Work


19. Becoming an Advanced Thinker.

Practicing Skilled Thinking

Stage Five: Reaching the Advanced Stage of Development

Stage Six: Becoming a Master Thinker

Qualities of Mind of a Master Thinker

The Ideal Thinker


A. Critical Questions About Critical Thinking

B. Sample Analyses of “The Logic of . . .”

C Article: “Iraq Is a Pediatrician’s Hell: No Way to Stop the Dying”




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