Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Characteristics of a Critical Thinker

A parent never knows where learning might best take place! 

Yet another interesting read I came across yesterday, something I saved years ago on my hard drive. Not sure the exact source, though I did note the name of the author. Upon reading it once again, I am challenged to think more carefully.


Raymond S. Nickerson (1987), an authority on critical thinking, characterizes a good critical thinker in
terms of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and habitual ways of behaving. Here are some of the
characteristics of such a thinker:

􀁺 uses evidence skillfully and impartially
􀁺 organizes thoughts and articulates them concisely and coherently
􀁺 distinguishers between logically valid and invalid inferences
􀁺 suspends judgment in the absence of sufficient evidence to support a decision
􀁺 understands the difference between reasoning and rationalizing
􀁺 attempts to anticipate the probable consequences of alternative actions
􀁺 understands the idea of degrees of belief
􀁺 sees similarities and analogies that are not superficially apparent
􀁺 can learn independently and has an abiding interest in doing so
􀁺 applies problem-solving techniques in domains other than those in which learned
􀁺 can structure informally represented problems in such a way that formal techniques, such as
mathematics, can be used to solve them
􀁺 can strip a verbal argument of irrelevancies and phrase it in its essential terms
􀁺 habitually questions one's own views and attempts to understand both the assumptions that are
critical to those views and the implications of the views
􀁺 is sensitive to the difference between the validity of a belief and the intensity with which it is held
􀁺 is aware of the fact that one's understanding is always limited, often much more so than would be
apparent to one with a noninquiring attitude
􀁺 recognizes the fallibility of one's own opinions, the probability of bias in those opinions, and the danger of weighting evidence according to personal preferences