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History[ edit ] The earliest documentation of critical thinking are the teachings of Socrates recorded by Plato. Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational.
He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. He established the importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well.
His method of questioning is now known as "Socratic Questioning" and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy. In his mode of questioning, Socrates highlighted the need for thinking for clarity and logical consistency. Socrates asked people questions to reveal their irrational thinking or lack of reliable knowledge.
Socrates demonstrated that having authority does not ensure accurate knowledge. He established the method of questioning beliefs, closely inspecting assumptions and relying on evidence and sound rationale. Plato recorded Socrates' teachings and carried on the tradition of critical thinking.
Aristotle and subsequent Greek skeptics refined Socrates' teachings, using systematic thinking and asking questions to ascertain the true nature of reality beyond the way things appear from a glance. Critical thinking was described by Richard W. Paul as a movement in two waves Its details vary amongst those who define it.
According to Barry K. Beyercritical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.
National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking  defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Definitions[ edit ] Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows: Critical thinking is not 'hard' thinking nor is it directed at solving problems other than 'improving' one's own thinking.
Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality of the thinker.
One does not use critical thinking to solve problems—one uses critical thinking to improve one's process of thinking. Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking.
It followed a philosophy where the thinker was removed from the train of thought and the connections and the analysis of the connect was devoid of any bias of the thinker. Kerry Walters describes this ideology in his essay Beyond Logicism in Critical Thinking, "A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal and, to a lesser extent, formal logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective.
This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon". Walters Re-thinking Reason,p. Walters summarizes logicism as "the unwarranted assumption that good thinking is reducible to logical thinking".
Rationality and logic are still widely accepted in many circles as the primary examples of critical thinking. Deduction, abduction and induction[ edit ] Main article: Deduction is the conclusion of a consequence given premises that logically follow by modus ponens.
Induction is drawing a conclusion from a pattern that is guaranteed by the strictness of the structure to which it applies. Abduction is drawing a conclusion using a heuristic that is likely, but not inevitable given some foreknowledge. Contrast with the deductive statement: Walters Re-thinking Reason, argues that rationality demands more than just logical or traditional methods of problem solving and analysis or what he calls the "calculus of justification" but also considers " cognitive acts such as imaginationconceptual creativity, intuition and insight" p.
These "functions" are focused on discovery, on more abstract processes instead of linear, rules-based approaches to problem-solving.
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