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What is Critical Thinking (1)?


Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue, assumptions, concepts, empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions, implications and consequences, objections from alternative viewpoints, and frame of reference.

Critical thinking - in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes - is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them:

  • scientific thinking
  • mathematical thinking
  • historical thinking
  • anthropological thinking
  • economic thinking
  • moral thinking
  • philosophical thinking


A Working Definition of critical thinking by Michael Scriven and Richard Paul (Source:

To the author, Critical Thinking is individuals' ability perceive external environment problems/issues, analyse the problem/issues and generate some knowledge in himself/herself.  Everybody have different ability in analyse problem or even in perceiving external environments. Thus the critical thinking is also subjective to individual. Some people have better critical thinking in certain areas but some people have better critical thinking in other areas.

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