A note to a professor who defined "critical thinking" his own way.
A quote from a syllabus:
Critical thinking is a highly prized, and benefits you throughout your life. We'll define critical thinking asconsidering a diversity of views and evaluating their merits.
Do you see anything wrong with this definition? Should we consider "a diversity of views" or rather all relevant facts? Is the goal to evaluate the merits of those diverse views or to form a useful judgement based on solid evidence?
Note, that the offered definition is in quotes, but I tried on two search engines and could not find the source of this phrase.
Let's see what we all as people had agreed to call critical thinking.
The application of logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and careful reasoning to the analysis and discussion of claims, beliefs, and issues. - Wictionary
Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgement. - Wikipedia
Critical Thinking was defined in 1987 by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking:
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
They offer to see critical thinking as two components:
- a set of processing skills,
- a habit of using them to guide behavior.
And they say what it is not:
- not a mere acquisition of information,
- not a mere possession of the skill,
- not a mere use of the skill without accepting the results.
Critical thinking is a widely accepted educational goal. Its definition is contested, but the competing definitions can be understood as differing conceptions of the same basic concept: careful thinking directed to a goal.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Thus, I consider the definition in the syllabus incomplete enough to be misleading.