Critical Thinking Evaluation

(Dewey 1910: 6; 1933: 9) and identified a habit of such consideration with a scientific attitude of mind.

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For details on this history, see the Supplement on History.

Before considering the definition of critical thinking, it will be helpful to have in mind some examples of critical thinking, as well as some examples of kinds of thinking that would apparently not count as critical thinking.

Also since 1980, the state university system in California has required all undergraduate students to take a critical thinking course.

Since 1983, the Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking has sponsored sessions in conjunction with the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association (APA).

“Critical thinkers” have the dispositions and abilities that lead them to think critically when appropriate.

The abilities can be identified directly; the dispositions indirectly, by considering what factors contribute to or impede exercise of the abilities.“I then tried to imagine all possible purposes of the pole, and to consider for which of these it was best suited: (a) Possibly it was an ornament.But as all the ferryboats and even the tugboats carried poles, this hypothesis was rejected.Critical thinking is a widely accepted educational goal.Its definition is contested, but the competing definitions can be understood as differing conceptions of the same basic concept: careful thinking directed to a goal.In 1987, the APA’s Committee on Pre-College Philosophy commissioned a consensus statement on critical thinking for purposes of educational assessment and instruction (Facione 1990a).Researchers have developed standardized tests of critical thinking abilities and dispositions; for details, see the Supplement on Assessment.: “The other day, when I was down town on 16th Street, a clock caught my eye. This suggested that I had an engagement at 124th Street, at one o'clock. If not, I might lose more than twenty minutes in looking for one.I reasoned that as it had taken me an hour to come down on a surface car, I should probably be twenty minutes late if I returned the same way. Then I thought of the elevated, and I saw there was such a line within two blocks. If it were several blocks above or below the street I was on, I should lose time instead of gaining it.Morevoer, the pilot being near the front of the boat, he would need some such guide as to its direction. This hypothesis was so much more probable than the others that I accepted it. It expands by increase of heat, or by decrease of pressure, or both.I formed the conclusion that the pole was set up for the purpose of showing the pilot the direction in which the boat pointed, to enable him to steer correctly.” (Dewey 1910: 69-70; 1933: 92-93) : “In washing tumblers in hot soapsuds and placing them mouth downward on a plate, bubbles appeared on the outside of the mouth of the tumblers and then went inside. The presence of bubbles suggests air, which I note must come from inside the tumbler. Could the air have become heated after the tumbler was taken from the hot suds?

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