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CRITICAL THINKING
Topics: Critical thinking, Logic, Reasoning / Pages: 5 (791 words) / Published: Nov 17th, 2014

1. WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

Critical thinking is a process:
Involves wide range of skills and attributes:
Identifying other people’s positions, arguments and conclusions.
Evaluating the evidence for alternative points of view.
Weighing up opposing arguments and evidence fairly.
Being able to read between the lines, seeing the surface and identifying false or fair assumptions.
Recognising techniques eg false logic and persuasive devices
Reflecting on issues in a structured way, bringing logic and insight to bear.
Drawing conclusions
Presenting a point of view in a structured, clear, well reasoned way that convinces others.

Scepticism and trust..
Ability to reflect sceptically
Ability to think in a reasoned way
Method rather than personality trait
Critical thinking and argument
REASONING:
Knowing your own reasons: rational
Critical analysis of other people’s reasoning
Identifying their reasons and conclusions
Analysing how they select, combine and order reasons to construct a line of reasoning.
Evaluating whether their reasons support the conclusion they draw.
Evaluating whether their reasons are well-founded, based on good evidence.
Identifying flaws in their reasoning.
Constructing and presenting reasons
Select and structure reasons to support a conclusion.
Present an argument in a consistent way;
Use logical order
Use language effectively to present the line of reasoning.
Why develop critical thinking skills?
Benefits of critical thinking skills:
Improved attention and observation
More focused reading
Improved ability to identify the key points in a text or message rather than distracted with less important material
Improved ability to response to the appropriate points in a message.
Knowledge of how to get your own point across more easily
Skills of analysis that you can choose to apply in a variety of situations.
Benefits in professional and everyday life:
Precision on what you work and think.
More accurate and specific in noting what is relevant and what is not.
Ancillary skills:
Observation
Reasoning
Decision making
Analysis
Judgement
Persuasion.
Underlying skills and attributes:
Underlying thinking skills
Knowledge and research
Emotional self management
Perseverance, accuracy and precision:
Attention to detail
Identifying trends and patterns
Repetition
Taking different perspectives
Objectivity
Considering implications and distant consequences.
Self-awareness for accurate judgment
Personal strategies for critical thinking:
Analytical strategy for the material
Understanding of the wider context
Evaluative and selective approach
Being self-critical about your own understanding, interpretation and evaluation
Critical thinking in academic contexts:
Development of understanding
Both positives and negatives
Comprehensive: nothing is excluded
The idea or the action, not the person
Non-dualistic
Dealing with ambiguity and doubt
Critical thinking a student means:
Finding out where the best evidence lies for the subject you are discussing
Evaluating the strength of the evidence to support different arguments
Coming to an interim conclusion about where the available evidence appears to lead
Constructing a line of reasoning to guide your audience through the evidence and lead them towards your conclusion
Selecting the best examples
And providing evidence to illustrate your argument.

Barriers to critical thinking:
Misunderstanding of what is meant by criticism
Over-estimating our own reasoning abilities
Lack of methods, strategies or practice
Reluctance to critique experts
Affective reasons
Mistaking information for understanding
Insufficient focus and attention to detail

2. DEVELOPING THINKING SKILLS:
Comparison
Sequence
Categorising:
Categories
Categorising text
Close reading
Following directions
Recognising similarities
Focusing attention:
Identifying difference
Recognising sequence

3. IDENTIFYING ARGUMENTS:
Overall argument: contributing arguments or reasons.
Contributing argument: individual reasons.
a. Argument: persuasion and reasons persuasion through reasons: position or point of view attempt to persuade others to accept that point of view reasons given to support the point of view
Questions to ask?
What was the point of producing this text or programme?
What is the main message I am supposed to take from this?
What does the author/producer want me to believe, accept or do?
What reasons have they offered to support their position?
Ambiguous arguments
b. Proposition: can be true or false: statements believed to be true and presented as arguments or reasons.
c. Conclusion: leading to an end.
d. Premises; predicate

6 items in looking for in identifying an argument:
Position
Reasons/propositions
A line of reasoning
Conclusion
Persuasion
Signal words and phrases.
Locating the conclusion: clues to finding the conclusion
Start of the passage
The end of a passage
Interpretive summary
Signal words
Challenges and recommendations
Words indicating a deduction

4. Is it an argument? Argument and non-argument:
a. Position: point of view. Rule without reasons.
b. Agreement: to concur with someone else’s point of view. Basically agreeing with the position without reasons.
c. Disagreement: to hold a different point of view from someone else.
d. Argument: using reasons to support a point of view..can persuaded others and can include disagreement that is based on reasons.
e. Non-arguments:
i. Descriptions ii. Explanations and summaries.
f. Types of messages:
i. Argument ii. A summary iii. An explanation iv. description

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