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Prof. Dr. Fee-Alexandra Haase: Welcome inside the Think Tank

Part 1 - Introduction to criticism

Historical definitions of Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking itself is based on the assumption that is a certain logic in the way to think about any subject exist. Critical Thinking is a method and way of human thinking. Humans think within concepts or ideas. Critical Thinking is concerned with such concepts of ideas or thoughts. Critical Thinking is a way to approach problems and make decisions. Critical Thinking can be understood as a way of becoming aware of and taking control of one"s own thinking processes in order to think more effectively. It is consciously directing personal thinking to make it more rational, clear, accurate, and consistent. Critical Thinking is for relevant questions, evidence offered in support of arguments, interpretation of complex problems, and making of decisions. Critical Thinking is thinking that proceeds on the basis of careful evaluation of premises and evidence. Conclusions as objectively as possible through the consideration of all pertinent factors and the use of valid procedures from logic are based upon this process. Critical Thinking means a correct thinking in the pursuit of relevant and reliable knowledge about the world in a judgement process. It is as a reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking, which focuses on deciding what to decide or do. (1)

Recent definitions of Critical Thinking use both the definition of it as a method of thinking as well as its tools. ritical Thinking encompasses the entire process of obtaining, comprehending, analysing, evaluating, internalising, and acting upon knowledge and values. ritical Thinking means a correct thinking in the pursuit of relevant and reliable knowledge and values about the world. ritical Thinking is reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. In the Consensus statement regarding Critical Thinking and the ideal critical thinker (1990) the following definition of Critical Thinking is made:

We understand Critical Thinking to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based. CT is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one"s personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit. Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society. (2)


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