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Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life / Edition 3

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Overview

For Student Success and Career Development, or Critical Thinking courses. Written by two of the leading experts in the field, this book's approach to critical thinking is as a process for taking charge of and responsibility for one’s thinking.

Critical Thinking is based in theory developed over the last 30 years, it focuses on an integrated, comprehensive concept of critical thinking that is both substantive and practical; it fosters the development of basic intellectual skills students need to think through content in any class, subject, or discipline, as well as through any problem or issue they face. Simply stated, this text offers students the intellectual tools they need for lifelong learning, and rational, conscientious living. In this edition, several advanced chapters were eliminated, many diagrams have been added or enhanced, and the glossary of critical thinking terms has been more strongly developed. The authors’ website provides valuable resources to enhance students' development as thinkers www.criticalthinking.org

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Every semester I learn more about myself when teaching critical thinking. I have always used the Socratic method when teaching other courses, but due to actually teaching a “Critical Thinking” course and using this particular textbook, I find myself incorporating the traits and standards into ALL the courses. This, after all, is what it is all about!”

Dr. Rochelle R. Brunson, Alvin Community College

I believe that Dr. Paul and Linda Elder are two of the experts in the field of Critical Thinking and this book is one of the best on the market today."

Jan C. Graham, Mayland Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132180917
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 9/14/2011
  • Series: MyStudentSuccessLab Series
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 236,982
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Richard W. Paul is Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking and Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. Dr. Paul is an internationally recognized authority on critical thinking, with eight books and over 200 articles on the subject. Dr. Paul has given lectures on critical thinking at many universities in both the United States and abroad, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and the universities of Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, British Columbia, Toronto, and Amsterdam. He taught beginning and advanced courses in critical thinking at the university level for over 20 years. He has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Distinguished Philosopher (by the Council for Philosophical Studies, 1987), O.C. Tanner Lecturer in Humanities (by Utah State University, 1986), Lansdown Visiting Scholar (by the University of Victoria, 1987), and the Alfred Korsybski Memorial Lecturer (by the Institute for General Semantics, 1987).

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking. Dr. Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators at all levels. She has co-authored four books, including Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life and Twenty-Five Days to Better Thinking and Better Living. She has co-authored twenty thinker’s guides on critical thinking and co-authors a quarterly column on critical thinking in the Journal of Developmental Education. Dr. Elder has also developed an original stage theory of critical thinking development. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and her work.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

PREFACE

You are what you think. That's right. Whatever you are doing right now, whatever you feel, whatever you want—all are determined by the quality of your thinking. If your thinking is unrealistic, it will lead you to many disappointments. If your thinking is overly pessimistic, it will deny you due recognition of the many things in which you should properly rejoice.

Test this idea for yourself. Identify some examples of your strongest feelings or emotions. Then identify the thinking that is correlated with those examples. For example, if you feel excited about college, it is because you think that good things will happen to you in college. If you dread going to class, it is probably because you think it will be boring or too difficult.

In a similar way, if the quality of your life is not what you would wish it to be, it is most likely because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it.

For example, suppose you came to college with the view that college was going to be a lot of fun and you were going to form good friendships with fellow students who would respect and like you and, what is more, that your romantic relationships would become interesting and exciting. And let's suppose that hasn't happened. If this were the thrust of your thinking, you now would feel disappointed and maybe even frustrated (depending on how negative your experience has been interpreted by your thinking).

For most people, thinking is subconscious, neverexplicitly put into words. For example, most people who think negatively would not say of themselves, "I have chosen to think about myself and my experience in largely negative terms. I prefer to be as unhappy as I can be."

The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking, you have no chance of correcting poor thinking. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don't see any problems in it, you won't be motivated to change it.

The truth is that since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in our lives, few gain significant command of it. Therefore, most people are in many ways victims of their own thinking, that is, harmed rather than helped by it. Most people are their own worst enemy. Their thinking is a continual source of problems, preventing them from recognizing opportunities, keeping them from exerting energy where it will do the most good, poisoning relationships, and leading them down blind alleys.

In this book we are concerned with helping you take charge of what you do, what you learn, and how you feel by taking command of how and what you think. We hope that you will discover the power of your thinking and will choose to develop it in ways that serve your interests, as well as the well-being of others.

The single most significant variable in determining the quality of what you learn in college is your thinking. Certainly your, teachers will play a role in your learning. Some of them will do a better job than others of helping you learn. But even the best teachers can help you very little if you lack the intellectual skills necessary for thinking well through course content.

This book introduces you to the tools of mind you need to reason well through the problems and issues you face, whether in the classroom, in your personal life, or in your professional life. If you take these ideas seriously, you can do something for yourself of lifelong value.

If all goes as we plan it, you gradually will become more and more aware of the thinking that causes you problems. And you will be able to change that thinking so you can experience a more satisfying life. You will find that learning, both inside and outside of class, will become more and more rewarding. You will increasingly be able to take the ideas you are learning in class and apply them to your life in a useful way.

The choice is yours, and the quality of your choice can only be as good as the thinking you use to come to that choice. If you think that taking command of your thinking is not important (perhaps you assume that you already have that command), this book won't help you learn to think any better than you do now. If, however, you sense that you have not yet achieved the personal control over your thinking we are speaking of, and you recognize its potential value, you will read on, and progressively take the steps to create personal control and power.

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Table of Contents

Preface

INTRODUCTION

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

Chapter 1 - BECOME A FAIRMINDED THINKER

Weak versus Strong Critical Thinking

What Does Fairmindedness Require?

Intellectual Humility: Strive to Discover the Extent of Your Ignorance

Intellectual

Courage: Develop the Courage to Challenge Popular Beliefs

Intellectual Empathy:

Learn to Enter Opposing Views Empathically

Intellectual Integrity: Hold Yourself

to the Same Standards to Which You 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

Conclusion

Chapter 2 - THE FIRST FOUR STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT: AT WHAT LEVEL OF THINKING WOULD YOU PLACE YOURSELF?

Stage 1: The Unreflective Thinker

Stage 2: The Challenged Thinker

Stage 3: The Beginning Thinker

Stage 4: The Practicing Thinker

A “Game Plan” for Improvement

A Game Plan for Devising a Game Plan

Integrating Strategies One by One

Chapter 3 - SELF-UNDERSTANDIN G

Monitor the Egocentrism in Your Thought and Life

Make a Commitment to Fairmindedness

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

Chapter 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

Critical Thinkers Think to Some Purpose

Critical Thinkers Take Command of Concepts

Critical Thinkers Assess Information

Inert Information

Activated Ignorance

Activated Knowledge

Critical Thinkers Distinguish between Inferences and Assumptions

Critical Thinkers Think through Implications

Critical Thinkers Think across Points of View

The Point of View of the Critical Thinker

Conclusion

Chapter 5 - STANDARDS FOR THINKING

Take a Deeper Look at Universal Intellectual Standards

Clarity

Accuracy

Precision

Relevance

Depth

Breadth

Logic

Significance

Fairness

Bring 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

Chapter 6 - ASK QUESTIONS THAT LEAD TO GOOD THINKING

The Importance of Questions in Thinking

Questioning Your Questions

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

Conclusion

Chapter 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

Chapter 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

The Logic of Biochemistry

The Logic of Four Additional Disciplines

The Logic of Biology

The Logic of Ecology

The Logic of Aerospace Engineering

The Logic of Electrical Engineering

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

Chapter 9 - REDEFINE GRADES AS LEVELS OF THINKING AND LEARNING

Develop Strategies for Self-Assessment

Use 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)

Conclusion

Chapter 10 - MAKE DECISIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS

Making Decisions

Evaluating Patterns in Decision-Making

“Big” Decisions

The Logic of Decision-Making

Dimensions of Decision-Making

The Early Decisions (2—11 Years of Age)

Adolescent Decisions (12—17 Years of Age)

Solving Problems

Becoming an Activist Problem-Solver

Evaluating Patterns in Your Problem-Solving

“Big” Problems

Dimensions of Problem-Solving

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Problem-Solving

Analyzing Problems Using the Elements of Thought

The Art of Problem-Solving

Conclusion

Chapter 11 - DEAL WITH YOUR IRRATIONAL MIND

Take Charge of Your Egocentric Nature

Understand Egocentric Thinking

Understand Egocentrism as a Mind within the Mind

Successful Egocentric Thinking

Unsuccessful Egocentric Thinking

Rational Thinking

Two Egocentric Functions

Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind

Challenge the Pathological Tendencies of Your Mind

The Challenge of Rationality

Take Charge of Your Sociocentric Tendencies

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

Conclusion

Chapter 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

Points 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

The Bias toward Novelty and Sensationalism

Critical Consumers of the News

Questions for the News Media

Finding Alternative Sources of Information

Becoming an Independent Thinker

Buried, Ignored, or Underreported Stories

Using the Internet

Additional Alternative News Sources

Conclusion

Chapter 13 - FALLACIES: THE ART OF MENTAL TRICKERY AND MANIPULATION

Truth and Deception in the Human Mind

Three Types of Thinkers

Uncritical Persons (Intellectually Unskilled Thinkers)

Skilled Manipulators (Weak-Sense Critical Thinkers)

Fairminded Critical Persons (Strong-Sense Critical Thinkers)

The Concept of Fallacies of Thought

Naming Fallacies

Mistakes versus Fallacies

No Exhaustive List of Fallacies

Faulty Generalizations

Analyzing Generalizations

Post Hoc Generalizations

Analogies and Metaphors

44 Foul Ways to Win an Argument

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

Conclusion

Chapter 14 - DEVELOP 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

Understanding Our Native Selfishness

Conclusion

Chapter 15 - 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

Chapter 16 - STRATEGIC THINKING: PART TWO

Key Idea #4: Our Native Egocentrism Is 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: HumansAre Naturally Sociocentric Animals

Key Idea #11: Developing Rationality

Requires Work

Conclusion

Chapter 17 - BECOMING AN ADVANCED THINKER: OUR CONCLUSION

Practicing Skilled Thinking

Stage 5: Reaching the Advanced Stage of Development

Stage 6: Becoming an Accomplished Thinker

Qualities of Mind of an Accomplished Thinker

The Inner Logic of the Accomplished Thinker

The Ideal Thinker

Appendices

A A Brief History of The Idea of Critical Thinking

B Sample Analysis of The Logic of . . .

Glossary

References

Index

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Preface

PREFACE:

PREFACE

You are what you think. That's right. Whatever you are doing right now, whatever you feel, whatever you want—all are determined by the quality of your thinking. If your thinking is unrealistic, it will lead you to many disappointments. If your thinking is overly pessimistic, it will deny you due recognition of the many things in which you should properly rejoice.

Test this idea for yourself. Identify some examples of your strongest feelings or emotions. Then identify the thinking that is correlated with those examples. For example, if you feel excited about college, it is because you think that good things will happen to you in college. If you dread going to class, it is probably because you think it will be boring or too difficult.

In a similar way, if the quality of your life is not what you would wish it to be, it is most likely because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it.

For example, suppose you came to college with the view that college was going to be a lot of fun and you were going to form good friendships with fellow students who would respect and like you and, what is more, that your romantic relationships would become interesting and exciting. And let's suppose that hasn't happened. If this were the thrust of your thinking, you now would feel disappointed and maybe even frustrated (depending on how negative your experience has been interpreted by your thinking).

For most people, thinking is subconscious,neverexplicitly put into words. For example, most people who think negatively would not say of themselves, "I have chosen to think about myself and my experience in largely negative terms. I prefer to be as unhappy as I can be."

The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking, you have no chance of correcting poor thinking. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don't see any problems in it, you won't be motivated to change it.

The truth is that since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in our lives, few gain significant command of it. Therefore, most people are in many ways victims of their own thinking, that is, harmed rather than helped by it. Most people are their own worst enemy. Their thinking is a continual source of problems, preventing them from recognizing opportunities, keeping them from exerting energy where it will do the most good, poisoning relationships, and leading them down blind alleys.

In this book we are concerned with helping you take charge of what you do, what you learn, and how you feel by taking command of how and what you think. We hope that you will discover the power of your thinking and will choose to develop it in ways that serve your interests, as well as the well-being of others.

The single most significant variable in determining the quality of what you learn in college is your thinking. Certainly your, teachers will play a role in your learning. Some of them will do a better job than others of helping you learn. But even the best teachers can help you very little if you lack the intellectual skills necessary for thinking well through course content.

This book introduces you to the tools of mind you need to reason well through the problems and issues you face, whether in the classroom, in your personal life, or in your professional life. If you take these ideas seriously, you can do something for yourself of lifelong value.

If all goes as we plan it, you gradually will become more and more aware of the thinking that causes you problems. And you will be able to change that thinking so you can experience a more satisfying life. You will find that learning, both inside and outside of class, will become more and more rewarding. You will increasingly be able to take the ideas you are learning in class and apply them to your life in a useful way.

The choice is yours, and the quality of your choice can only be as good as the thinking you use to come to that choice. If you think that taking command of your thinking is not important (perhaps you assume that you already have that command), this book won't help you learn to think any better than you do now. If, however, you sense that you have not yet achieved the personal control over your thinking we are speaking of, and you recognize its potential value, you will read on, and progressively take the steps to create personal control and power.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2006

    Critical Failure

    This book doesn't teach Critical Thinking, unless to think critically means that you are willing to only think about things from an ultra left point of view. Chapter 12 has nothing but Anti-American propoganda, one of the things this book says it wants to do away with. Not a single point of view or listed 'outside the box' author is from a conservative, or even moderate background. I gave it a 1 star because they didn't offer me the choice of negative stars.

    30 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

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