The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence.
Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.
This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon".
The adoption of these principals parallels themselves with the increasing reliance on a quantitative understanding of the world.
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. The "first wave" of critical thinking is often referred to as a 'critical analysis' that is clear, rational thinking involving critique. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.
Socrates set the agenda for the tradition of critical thinking, namely, to reflectively question common beliefs and explanations, carefully distinguishing beliefs that are reasonable and logical from those that—however appealing to our native egocentrism, however much they serve our vested interests, however comfortable or comforting they may be—lack adequate evidence or rational foundation to warrant belief. 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." In the term critical thinking, the word critical, (Grk.
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.
In the ‘second wave’ of critical thinking, as defined by Kerry S. 1), many authors moved away from the logocentric mode of critical thinking that the ‘first wave’ privileged, especially in institutions of higher learning.
Walters summarizes logicism as "the unwarranted assumption that good thinking is reducible to logical thinking".