Critical thinking is the capacity to distinguish between valid and invalid processes of inference and information sources; it requires the formation of beliefs based upon sound reasoning.
This book is broken down into four main sections, where we will look at the major themes of cognition, logic, reasoning and argumentation. The first section looks at human cognition to understand the basic biological and evolutionary constraints placed on us when it comes to effective reasoning. Here we will talk about how the brain works, look at some of the central insights from cognitive science and talk about some of the many limitations and flaws prevalent within human cognition.
Thinking may come naturally to us but constructive reasoning certainly does not. Constructive thinking is a skill. It is certainly not true that we are naturally endowed with the ability to think clearly and logically; without learning how and without practicing. The same commitment, training, and skill that is required to be a good golfer, for playing tennis, building houses, or for playing some musical instrument are also required in order to be a good thinker. People who have nev
Elements of Reasoning The Elements of Reasoning are a list of factors that are designed to make people aware of the different elements involved in the process of reasoning. The Elements of Reasoning framework is developed by the Foundation for Critical Thinking.View Source Within this framework reasoning is understood as a process where people use [...]
Rational Arguments A rational argument is the exchange of evidence-based reasons that are designed to influence an audience. Rational argumentation is the capacity to give reasons; to connect the claims that one makes to the justification for making them. The reasons offered within an argument are called “premises”, and the proposition that the premises are [...]
Subjective & Objective Claims Objective means independent from the particularities of a specific instance or individual, subjective means conditional on the particularities of the individual - the subject. An objective claim is a statement about a factual matter, i.e. one that can be proved true or false. For these factual matters there exist recognized criteria [...]
Motivated Reasoning Motivated reasoning is reasoning based upon subjective motives that condition the cognitive processes of the individual towards generating conclusions that endorse the maintenance or attainment of the subjective motives of the individual. As such motivated reasoning is characterized by rationalization, a phenomenon where the outcome to the process of reasoning is predetermined and [...]
Arguments An argument is an exchange of ideas or opinions between individualsView Source in which the individuals express different opinions about some topic.View Source A defining feature to arguments is excludability, i.e. both members are engaged in some mutually dependent situation that excludes the possibility of each holding their beliefs or following their [...]
Logic The term logic refers to some set of intelligible relationships or interconnections between elements(e.g. individuals, objects, events etc.) within a system.View Source The term logic may apply to both our conception of phenomena(epistemology) and the condition of those things(ontology). In its application to our conception of phenomena, the term logic applies to human [...]
Standards of Thinking The standards of thinking are designed to ensure quality in our reasoning process For every human being, thinking comes naturally, but we typically do not think systematically and effectively, much of our thinking left to itself, has many limitations and failings.View Source Our thinking is often biased, unfocused, distorted, [...]