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Critical thinkingthe awakening of the intellect to the study of itself. Critical thinking is a rich concept that has been developing throughout the past 2,500 years. The term «critical thinking» has its roots in the mid-late 20th century. Below, we offer overlapping definitions which together form a substantive and trans-disciplinary conception of critical thinking.
Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference art of critical thinking Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987. Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one’s groups’, vested interest. As such it is typically intellectually flawed, however pragmatically successful it might be. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.
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People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.
They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society. At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so. They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others.
They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life.
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She lost sight of what mattered, of what is business plans she was and who she wanted to be, and of how she wanted to live her life.
The American Revolution to a certain extent aligned with this broad pattern and had some identical causes and characteristics.