Summary of Critical Thinking

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Critical Thinking book summary
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  • Applicable


The introduction to this book asserts that the world is becoming both more complex and less liberal as a result of knee-jerk reactions and short-term thinking. In contrast, say Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder, critical thinking helps people cope with the uncertainties of modern life and become more confident in their decisions. By mastering the tools and techniques of critical thinking, they say, readers will be able to improve their emotional and intellectual skills, their job performance and the success of their organizations. Their claims about material benefits may be somewhat exaggerated, so getAbstract suggests applying some of that critical thinking to the authors’ generalizations. Nonetheless, their overall points are well-made, and readers will find these skills and techniques intriguing and very useful.

About the Authors

Dr. Richard W. Paul chairs the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and president of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. She is the executive director of the Center for Critical Thinking, and he directs its research and professional development.



Thinking and Change

The world is changing, growing ever more complicated and unpredictable. Everyone faces new dangers and threats from environmental pollution, technology shifts, financial instability and other phenomena. Critical thinking is a discipline that will help you make better decisions in these challenging circumstances.

It takes work to develop critical-thinking skills, but critical thinking itself is no more difficult than uncritical thinking. The first step is to examine the way you think now – your assumptions, your logic, your inferences and your decision making. Only those who understand what thinking is are in a position to understand where their thinking succeeds and where it fails. Excellent thinkers do not merely have outstanding skills; they also have genuine intellectual virtues. The intellectual virtues are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. They do not exist or function in isolation.

These virtues develop only with practice, and the first step toward practice is to understand the features of good thinking:

  • Humility – People who are intellectually humble are aware of the limitations of their knowledge. They are ...

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