Critical thinking

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A Working Definition of critical thinking by Michael Scriven and Richard Paul
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 itsexemplary 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, economicthinking, moral thinking, and
philosophical thinking.
Critical thinking can be seen as having two components:
1. a set of skills to process and generate information and beliefs, and
2. the habit,based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to
guide behavior.
It is thus to be contrasted with:
1. the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, (because it
involvesa particular way in which information is sought and treated,)
2. the mere possession of a set of skills, (because it involves the
continual use of them,) and
3. the mere use of those skills ("asan exercise") without acceptance of
their results.
Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When
grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful...