Video: What is Critical Thinking?


I. Before watching, consider the following 10 definitions of critical thinking:


1) Use of cognitive skills to reach a desirable outcome (Diane Halpern).

2) Judicious reasoning about what to believe and, therefore, what to do (Peg Tittle).

3) The process by which we test claims and arguments and determine which have merit and which do not. The basic processes of critical thinking are investigation, interpretation, and judgment (Vincent Ruggiero).

4) Creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, analysis, evaluation, & synthesis of information (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board).

5) Not just memorizing, but the application, analysis, creation, synthesis, and evaluation of information (Bloom’s Taxonomy).

6) Critical thinking is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness (Michael Scriven & Richard Paul).

7) Critical thinkers strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies.  They embody the Socratic Principle (i.e. The unexamined life is not worth living) because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, and dangerous world (Linda Elder).

8) The ability to think critically involves three things: (1) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one’s experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods (Edward Glaser, 1941).

9) Critical thinking is the set of intellectual skills and psychological habits we need to solve problems, discover truths, and clearly communicate. Paul Stearns

10) Critical Thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion (AACU/Value Rubric).


Each profession engages in certain types of critical thinking… emphasizing some critical thinking skills over others.