Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined
thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a
fair-minded way. People who think critically consistently attempt to live
rationally, reasonably, empathically.
They are keenly aware of the inherently
flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish
the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They use the
intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that
enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to
develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual
humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of
justice and confidence in reason.
They realize that no matter how skilled they are as
thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will
always at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality,
prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos,
self-interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in
whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society. At
the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.
They strive never to think simplistically about
complicated issues and always consider the rights and needs of relevant others.
They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit
themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement.
They embody the
Socratic principle: The unexamined life is not worth living, because they
realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust,
~ Linda Elder, September 2007
:: What is Critical Thinking?
:: Ways to Improve Critical Thinking