Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is "the careful, deliberate determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim, and the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it."

From Critical Thinking by Moore and Parker.

Strategies for Critical Reading

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the issue?"
  • What conclusion does the author reach about the issue?"
  • What are the author's reasons for believing as he does?"
    • Be alert to bad reasoning (i.e. pity, fear, misuse of statistics etc.) that can fool you.
  • Has the author used facts or opinions?
    • Facts can be proven.
    • Opinions cannot be proven and may or may not be based on sound reasoning.
  • Has the author used neutral words or emotional words?
    • Critical readers look beyond the language to see if the reasons are clear.

Characteristics of Critical Thinkers

  • They are honest with themselves
  • They resist manipulation
  • They overcome confusion
  • They ask questions
  • They base judgments on evidence
  • They look for connections between subjects
  • They are intellectually independent