Chapter 1 -- Overview

1.
What is Critical Thinking?
1.
2. A collection of mental skills necessary for intellectual and personal development
3. From the Greek kritikos, meaning "discernment," "the ability to judge," or "decision making"
4. Includes application of logic, gathering evidence, evaluating the situation, and creating a plan
Critical thinking in everyday life
1.
Opinions are usually based on personal feelings rather than on reason and evidence
5. Cognitive development in college students
1.
2. Stage 1: Dualism (right vs. wrong)
3. Stage 2: Relativism (reluctance to judge; all opinions are valid)
Stage 3: Commitment (relying on evidence and experience for best decision)

2.
Characteristics of a Good Critical Thinker
1.
2. Analytical skills (recognize and evaluate arguments, discarding faulty reasoning)
3. Effective communication (listening, speaking, and writing)
4. Research and inquiry skills (gathering and applying all available evidence)
5. Flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity
6. Open-minded skepticism (overcoming personal prejudices and biases)
7. Creative problem solving (attempting to foresee all possibilities)
8. Attentive, mindful, and curious (a willingness to consider multiple perspectives)
Collaborative learning (considering the reaction of the "other side")

3.
Critical Thinking and Self-Development
1.
Living the self-examined life
1.
2. Taking charge of one's life
Critical thinking skills linked to improved mental health
2. Developing a rational life plan
1.
2. Listing important goals to "correct" one's pathway if astray
Assessment of skills, values, interests, and talents - as well as weaknesses
3. Facing challenges
1.
Daring to challenge social injustices and/or the law of the land
4. The Importance of self-esteem
1.
2. Sorting out genuine self-worth from a false sense of self-esteem
Low self-esteem potentially an indicator of mental illness
5. Critical thinking in a democracy
1.
2. Practitioners of critical thinking demanding the same from their elected leaders
Critical thinking and its deflection of faulty arguments and rhetoric

4.
Barriers to Critical Thinking
1.
The three-tier model of thinking
1.
2. Experience - includes firsthand experience as well as information or empirical facts that we receive from other sources.
3. Interpretation - involves trying to make sense of our experiences.
Analysis - requires that we raise our level of thinking and critically examine our interpretations of an experience
2. Resistance
1.
Artificial barriers to reinforce each person's particular world view
3. Types of resistance
1.
2. Avoidance
3. Anger
4. Clichés
5. Denial
6. Ignorance
7. Conformity
8. Struggling
Distractions
4. Narrow-Mindedness
1.
2. Absolutism
3. Fear of challenge
4. Egocentrism
5. Ethnocentrism
Anthropocentrism
5. Rationalization and doublethink
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2. When presented with conflicting alternatives, some people make a decision quickly because of their prior bias – a rationalization
"Doublethink" involves holding two contradictory views, or "double standards," at the same time and believing both to be true
6. Cognitive and social dissonance
1.
Likely to cause analysis or modification of world views when in contact with "new" ideas, behavior, and attitudes
7. Stress as a barrier
1.
Counteracted by mentally rehearsing responses to different stressful situations