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Chapter1

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Lecture 1: Introduction
to Critical Thinking
Do You Agree With This Statement?
“Some people study all their life and
at their death they have learned
everything except to THINK”
– Francois Domergue
Why?
2
Why does IU have this course?
To
help you improve your
Thinking Skills 
3
Introduction to Critical Thinking
1. What is Thinking?
2. Types of Thinking
7. Characteristics of
a Critical Thinker
6. Barriers to
Critical Thinking
3. What is
Critical Thinking?
4. Critical Thinking
Standards
5. Benefits of
Critical Thinking
4
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What is Thinking?
Why doesn’t SHE like me?
Why doesn’t HE like me?
As you start asking questions and seek answers,
you are in fact thinking.
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Types of Thinking
• Analyzing
• Evaluating
• Reasoning
Problem Solving
Decision Making
New
Ideas
Critical
Thinking
Creative
Thinking
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What is Critical Thinking?
WARNING: THIS MAN IS NOT
THINKING CRITICALLY!!
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What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the general term given to a wide
range of cognitive skills and intellectual dispositions
needed:
 to effectively identify, analyze, and evaluate
arguments and truth claims,
 to discover and overcome personal prejudices and
biases,
 to formulate and present convincing reasons in
support of conclusions; and
 to make reasonable, intelligent decisions about
what to believe and what to do.
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Critical Thinking Standards (CTS)
The most significant critical (intellectual) thinking
standards:
1. Clarity
2. Accuracy
3. Precision
4. Relevance
5. Depth
6. Breadth
7. Logic
8. Fairness
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CTS - Clarity




Could you elaborate further on that point?
Could you express that point in another way?
Could you give me an illustration?
Could you give me an example?
Clarity is the gateway standard
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Clarity

If a statement is unclear, we cannot determine
whether it is accurate or relevant. In fact, we
cannot tell anything about it because we do not yet
know what it is saying.

Exploratory questions related to the Clarity Standard:
 Is my thinking clear?
 Do I need to elaborate my thinking more?
 Do I need to provide an illustration of what I mean?
 Do I need to give an example from everyday life?
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CTS – Accuracy



Is that really true?
How could we check that?
How could we find out if that is true?
This chicken
weighs over
150 kg.
A statement can be clear but not accurate
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Accuracy

A statement can be clear, but not accurate as in,
“Most cats are over 50 kg in weight.”

Questions related to evaluating the accuracy of
thinking include:
 Is my thinking accurate?
 How could I check to see if this is true?
 How could I find out if this is correct?
 How can I verify for accuracy?
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CTS – Precision


Could you give more details?
Could you be more specific?
Yao Ming
is TALL!
A statement can be both clear and accurate,
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but not precise
Precision

A statement can be both clear and accurate, but
not precise:
“John is overweight.”
Is he 1 kg or 200 kg over weight?

Questions useful in assessing precision:
 Is my thinking as precise as it needs to be?
 Do I need to be more specific?
 Do I need to give more detail?
 Do I need to be more exact?
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CTS – Relevance


How is that connected to the question?
How does that bear on the issue?
I studied hard all
semester, therefore
I should get A+.
A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise,
but not relevant to the question at issue.
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Relevance

A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise, but not
be relevant to the issue.

Questioning the relevance:
 Is my thinking relevant to the issue?
 How does that relate to the question at hand?
 How does this information bear upon the problem I am
concerned with?
 How does this information help me deal effectively
with the issue?
“He is handsome. Therefore, he will pass the Cal. 1 test.”
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CTS – Depth



How does your answer address the complexities in
the question?
How are you taking into account the problems in the
question?
Is that dealing with the most significant factors?
A statement can be clear, accurate,
precise, and relevant, but superficial.
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Depth
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Depth

A statement can be clear, accurate, precise, and
relevant, yet superficial.

Questions useful for evaluating depth of our critical
thinking:
 What factors make up this difficult problem?
 What are the complexities of this issue?
 What are the difficulties I need to deal with?
 Is my thinking taking into account the different
perspectives I need to consider?
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CTS – Breadth




Do we need to consider another point of view?
Is there another way to look at this question?
What would this look like from a conservative
standpoint?
What would this look like from the point of view of...?
Headache!!!
You got 0 marks for
“Participation”,
because you didn’t
participate in the class
discussion at all.
A line of reasoning may be clear, accurate,
precise, relevant, and deep, but lack breadth.
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Breadth

The ability to recognize all sides of an issue.

Questions useful for examining breadth:
 Am I looking at this issue in a narrow minded
way?
 Do I need to look at this from another
perspective?
 Do I need to consider another point of view?
 Do I need to look at this situation in other ways?
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CTS – Logic




Does this really make sense?
Does that follow from what you said?
How does that follow?
But before you implied this and now you are
saying that; how can both be true?
Superman sees through anything.
Superman sees through walls.
Superman sees through You.
When the combination of thoughts are
mutually supporting and make sense in combination,
the thinking is “logical.”
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Logic

When we think, we bring a variety of thoughts together
in some order. When the combination of thoughts is
mutually supporting and makes sense in combination,
the thinking is “logical.”

The logic of our critical thinking can be measured by the
following questions:
 Does my thinking make sense as a whole?
 Does my conclusion follow from evidence, or is there
a more logical conclusion?
 Is my thinking focused on what is most significant?
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CTS – Fairness
Critical thinking demands that our thinking be fair.
 Open-minded
 Impartial = fair
 Free of distorting biases and preconceptions
Fair-mindedness is an essential
attribute of a Critical Thinker.
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CTS – Consistency

A person holds inconsistent beliefs, at least one of
those beliefs must be false.

2 kinds of inconsistency:
- Logical inconsistency: involves saying or believing
inconsistent things (i.e. things that cannot both or all
be true) about a particular matter.
- Practical inconsistency: saying one thing and doing
another
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Consistency
Example:


MM: Key, Yogi, what do you say we eat at Toots’
tonight?
Yogi: That place is old. Nobody goes there anymore.
It’s too crowded.
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Good Thinking is…
CLEAR……….....rather than........UNCLEAR
ACCURATE…....rather than…….INACCURATE
PRECISE……....rather than…….VAGUE
RELEVANT…….rather than…….IRELEVANT
CONSISTENT….rather than……INCONSISTENT
LOGICAL……….rather than……ILLOGICAL
COMPLETE……rather than……INCOMPLETE
FAIR…………….rather than…....BIASED
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Benefits of Critical Thinking
Examples:
 Academic Performance
 Understand the arguments and beliefs of others
 Critically evaluating those arguments and beliefs
 Develop and defend one's own well-supported
arguments and beliefs.
 Workplace
 Helps us to reflect and get a deeper understanding of
our own and others’ decisions
 Encourage open-mindedness to change
 Aid us in being more analytical in solving problems 34
Benefits of Critical Thinking

Daily life
 Helps us to avoid making foolish personal
decisions.
 Promotes an informed and concerned citizenry
capable of making good decisions on important
social, political and economic issues.
 Aids in the development of autonomous thinkers
capable of examining their assumptions,
dogmas, and prejudices.
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
If Critical Thinking is so important, why is it that
uncritical thinking is so common?
Why is that so many people including many highly
educated and intelligent people find critical
thinking so difficult?
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Barriers to critical thinking











Lack of relevant background information
Poor reading skills
Bias
Prejudice (against someone/something)
Superstition (religion, culture)
Peer pressure
Face-saving
Resistance to change (stubborn)
Selective perception
Rationalization
Scapegoating
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
Five Powerful Barriers to Critical Thinking:
Egocentrism
Sociocentrism
Unwarranted
Assumptions
Wishful
Thinking
Relativistic
Thinking
Self-centered thinking
 self-interested thinking
 self-serving bias
Group-centered thinking
 Group bias
 Conformism
Beliefs that are presumed to be true
without adequate evidence or justification
 Assumption
 Stereotyping
Believing that something is true because
one wishes it were true.
The truth is “just a matter of opinion”
 Relativism
 Subjectivism
 Cultural relativism
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
1. EGOCENTRISM – the tendency to view
one’s own interests, ideas and values as
superior to everyone’s else
SELF-INTERESTED THINKING
– tendency to accept and
defend beliefs that harmonize
one’s own self-interest (This
benefits me, therefore it must be
good)
SELF-SERVING
BIAS – tendency
to overrate oneself
(I am better than I
actually am)
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
2. SOCIOCENTRISM: GROUP-CENTRED
THINKING

Group bias – the tendency to see one’s own group
as being inherently better than others (family,
community, region, nation, etc.)

Herd instinct (conformism) – the tendency to
follow the crowd (desire to belong, to be part of the
in-group)
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
3. UNWARRANTED ASSUMPTIONS &
STEREOTYPING

Assumption – something taken for granted,
something we believe to be true without any proof
or conclusive evidence

Unwarranted assumption – something taken for
granted without good reason

Stereotyping – making a hasty generalization
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
4. WISHFUL THINKING

Believing something not because you had good
evidence for it but simply because you wished it
were true.

Believing something because it makes one feel
good, not because there is good rational grounds
for thinking it is true.
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Barriers to Critical Thinking
5. RELATIVISTIC THINKING


Relativism is the view that truth is a matter of
opinion.
There are two popular forms of relativism:
subjectivism and cultural relativism.
 Subjectivism is the view that truth is a matter of
individual opinion.
 Cultural relativism is the view that truth is a matter
of social or cultural opinion.
 The most common form of relativism is moral
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relativism.
Barriers to Critical Thinking

Relativistic thinking - moral relativism.

Moral subjectivism is the view that what is morally
right and good for an individual, A, is whatever A
believes is morally right and good.

Cultural moral relativism is the view that what is
morally right and good for an individual, A, is
whatever A’s society or culture believes is morally
right and good.
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Characteristics of a Critical Thinker
Are you OPEN MINDED about other people’s view?
Are you HONEST to yourself (or others) when you are
wrong?
Do you have the COURAGE and PASSION to take
initiative and confront problems and meet challenges?
Are you AWARE of your own biases and preconceptions?
Do you WELCOME CRITICISM from other people?
Do you have INDEPENDENT opinions and are not afraid
to disagree?
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