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More definitions of Critcal Thinking by Others (2)

These are some definitions of Critical Thinking according to the people who write the textbooks or article on the subject. This is for references for the readers who like to explore further on this topic. The content is quoted from a website.

Uses of critical thinking:

"underlies reading, writing, speaking, and listening . . . the basic elements of communication"

"plays an important part in social change . . . institutions in any society - courts, governments, schools, businesses - are the products of a certain way of thinking."

"helps us uncover bias and prejudice."

"is a path to freedom form half-truths and deceptions."

"the willingness to change one point of view as we continue to examine and re-examine ideas that may seem obvious. Such thinking takes time and the willingness to say three subversive words: I don't know."

Critical thinkers: distinguish between fact and opinion; ask questions; make detailed observations; uncover assumptions and define their terms; and make assertions based on sound logic and solid evidence.

Ellis, D. Becoming a Master Student, 1997.

Attributes of a critical thinker:

  • asks pertinent questions

  • assesses statements and arguments

  • is able to admit a lack of understanding or information

  • has a sense of curiosity

  • is interested in finding new solutions

  • is able to clearly define a set of criteria for analyzing ideas

  • is willing to examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions and weigh them against facts

  • listens carefully to others and is able to give feedback

  • sees that critical thinking is a lifelong process of self-assessment

  • suspends judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered

  • looks for evidence to support assumption and beliefs

  • are able to adjust opinions when new facts are found

  • looks for proof

  • examines problems closely

  • are able to reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant

Ferrett, S. Peak Performance (1997).


"Critical thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge of their own thinking. This requires that they develop sound criteria and standards for analyzing and assessing their own thinking and routinely use those criteria and standards to improve its quality."

Elder, L. and Paul, R. "Critical Thinking: Why we must transform our teaching." Journal of Developmental Education 18:1, Fall 1994, 34-35.

Definitions of Critical Reading:

"(1) the process of making judgments in reading: evaluating relevancy and adequacy of what is read . . . " (2) an act of reading in which a questioning attitude, logical analysis, and inference are used to judge the worth of what is read according to an established standard . . . Among the identified skills of critical reading involved in making judgments are those having to do with the author's intent or purpose; with the accuracy, logic, reliability and authenticity of writing; and with the literary forms, components, and devices identified through literary analysis."

Harris and Hodges. (1981). A Dictionary of Reading and Related Terms, 74.

Critical evaluation is "the process of arriving at a judgment about the value or impact of a text by examining its quality in terms of form, style, and rhetorical features, the readability of the author and the consistency between ideas it presents and the reader's experience, including . . . internal evaluation . . . and external evaluation . . ."

Harris and Hodges. (1995). The Literacy Dictionary, 48.

Critical readers are:

  • willing to spend time reflecting on the ideas presented in their reading assignments

  • able to evaluate and solve problems while reading rather than merely compile a set of facts to be memorized

  • logical thinkers

  • diligent in seeking out the truth

  • eager to express their thoughts on a topic

  • seekers of alternative views on a topic

  • open to new ideas that may not necessarily agree with their previous thought on a topic

  • able to base their judgments on ideas and evidence

  • able to recognize errors in thought and persuasion as well as to recognize good arguments

  • willing to take a critical stance on issues

  • able to ask penetrating and thought-provoking questions to evaluate ideas

  • in touch with their personal thoughts and ideas about a topic

  • willing to reassess their views when new or discordant evidence is introduced and evaluated

  • able to identify arguments and issues

  • able to see connections between topics and use knowledge from other disciplines to enhance their reading and learning experiences

Schumm, J. S. and Post, S. A. (1997). Executive Learning, 282.





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