Critical Thinking: Learn The Tools The Best Thinkers Use, Concise Edition

Paperback | July 13, 2005

byRichard Paul, Linda Elder

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Written by two of the leading experts in critical thinking, this book focuses on an integrated, universal concept of critical thinking that is both substantive and applicable to any and every situation in which human thinking is necessary. It provides readerse with the basic intellectual tools needed for life-long learning, helping them understand the mind and how its three functions — thinking, feeling, motivation — influence and are influenced by one another. This book fosters the development of fair-minded critical thinking. Features the intellectual standards: clarity, precision, accuracy, logicalness, significance, depth, breadth, and fairness; The importance of good questioning; and intellectual tools to read for deep and lasting comprehension, and to write in ways that show clarity of reasonability of thought. For all that want to improve their critical thinking skills to apply to their job or life.

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Written by two of the leading experts in critical thinking, this book focuses on an integrated, universal concept of critical thinking that is both substantive and applicable to any and every situation in which human thinking is necessary. It provides readerse with the basic intellectual tools needed for life-long learning, helping ...

From the Jacket

Like its parent text, Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, Second Edition, this book focuses on an integrated, universal concept of critical thinking that is both substantive and practical; it provides readers with the basic intellectual skills they need to think through content in any class, subje...

DR. RICHARD W. PAUL is Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking and the Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. He has authored eight books and more than 200 articles on critical thinking. In over 35 years of teaching experience, he has won numerous awards and ho...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 7.4 × 9 × 0.6 inPublished:July 13, 2005Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0131703471

ISBN - 13:9780131703476

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Extra Content

Table of Contents


Introduction: A “Start-up” Definition of Critical Thinking.

How Skilled Are You as a Thinker?

Good Thinking Requires Hard Work.

The Concept of Critical Thinking.

Become a Critic of Your Thinking.

Establish New Habits of Thought.

Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Reason and Figure Things Out.

An “Elaborated” Definition of Critical Thinking.



1. How the Mind Can Discover Itself.

Recognize the Mind’s Three Basic Functions.

Establish a Special Relationship to Your Mind.

Connect Academic Subjects to Your Life.

Learn Both Intellectually and Emotionally.



2. Discover The Parts of Thinking.

Thinking Is Everywhere in Human Life.

The Parts of Thinking.

How the Parts of Thinking Fit Together.

The Relationship Between the Elements.

The Best Thinkers Think to Some Purpose.

The Best Thinkers Take Command of Concepts.

The Best Thinkers Assess Information.

The Best Thinkers Distinguish Between Inferences and Assumptions.

The Best Thinkers Think Through Implications.

The Best Thinkers Think Across Points of View.

The Point of View of the Critical Thinker.




3. Discover Universal Standards for Thinking.

Take a Deeper Look at Intellectual Standards.










Bringing Together the Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards.

Purpose, Goal, or End In View.

Question at Issue or Problem to Be Solved.

Point of View or Frame of Reference.

Information, Data, Experiences.

Concepts, Theories, Ideas.


Implications and Consequences.


Brief Guidelines For Using Intellectual Standard.



4. Redefining Grades as Levels of Thinking and Learning.

Develop Strategies for Assessing Your Learning.

Use Student Profiles to Assess Your Performance.

Exemplary Students (Grade of A).

High Performing Students (Grade of B).

Mixed-Quality Students (Grade of C).

Low-Performing Students (Grade of D or F).

Apply Student Profiles to Assess Your Performance Within Specific Disciplines: Exemplified by an Introduction to Psychology Course.

Exemplary to Low-Performing.




5. Learn to Ask the Questions the Best Thinkers Ask.

The Importance of Questions in Thinking.

Questioning Your Questions.

Dead Questions Reflect Inert Minds.

Three Categories of Questions.

Become a Socratic Questioner.

Focus Your Thinking on the Type of Question Being Asked.

Focus Your Questions on Universal Intellectual Standards for Thought.

Focus Your Questions on the Elements of Thought.

Focus Your Questions on Prior Questions.

Focus Your Questions on Domains of Thinking.




6. Discover How the Best Thinkers Learn.

18 Ideas for Improving Your Studies.

The Logic of a College as It Is.

How the Best Students Learn.

The Design of a College Class.

Figure Out the Underlying Concept of Your Courses.

Figure Out the Form of Thinking Essential to Courses or Subjects.

Think Within the Logic of the Subject.

A Case: The Logic of Biochemistry.

Make the Design of the Course Work for You.

Sample Course: American History, 1600—1800.

Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Thinking.

Figure Out the Logic of an Article or Essay.

Figure Out the Logic of a Textbook.

Criteria for Evaluating an Author’s Reasoning.

A Test To Repeat In Every Class & Subject.



7. Learn How to Read Closely and Write Substantively.

Part I: Discover Close Reading.

Read for a Purpose.

Consider the Author’s Purpose.

Avoid Impressionistic Reading and Writing.

Read Reflectively.

Think About Reading While Reading.

Engage the Text While Reading.

Think of Books as Teachers.

Reading Minds.

The Work of Reading.

Structural Reading.

How to Read a Sentence.

How to Read a Paragraph.

How to Read a Textbook.

How to Read a Newspaper.

How to Read an Editorial.

Take Ownership (Mark it Up).

The Best Readers Read to Learn.


Part II: Discover Substantive Writing.

Write for a Purpose.

Substantive Writing.

The Problem of Impressionistic Writing.

Write Reflectively.

How to Write a Sentence.

Write to Learn.

Substantive Writing in Content Areas.

Relate Core Ideas to Other Core Ideas.

The Work of Writing.

Question as You Write.

Non-Substantive Writing.


Part III: Practice Close Reading and Substantive Writing.

Five Levels of Close Reading (that Overlap With Substantive Writing).


Clarification Strategies.

Sample Paraphrases.

Paraphrasing Short Quotes.

Exercises in the Five Levels of Close Reading and Substantive Writing.

The Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson et. al.

Civil Disobedience (Two Excerpts), by Henry David Thoreau.

Exploring Conflicting Ideas.

Exploring Key Ideas Within Disciplines.

Analyzing Reasoning.

Evaluating Reasoning.



8. Become a Fair-minded Thinker.

Weak vs. Strong Critical Thinking.

What Does Fair-Mindedness Require?

Intellectual Humility: The Best Thinkers Strive to Discover the Extent of Their Ignorance.

Intellectual Courage: The Best Thinkers have the Courage to Challenge Popular Beliefs.

Intellectual Empathy: The Best Thinkers Empathically Enter Opposing Views.

Intellectual Integrity: The Best Thinkers Hold Themselves to the Same Standards to Which They Hold Others.

Intellectual Perseverance: The Best Thinkers Do Not Give Up Easily, But Work Their Way Through Complexities and Frustration.

Confidence In Reason: The Best Thinkers Respect Evidence and Reasoning and Value Them as Tools for Discovering the Truth.

Intellectual Autonomy: The Best Thinkers Value Their Independence in Thought.

The Best Thinkers Recognize the Interdependence of Intellectual Virtues.




9. Deal With Your Irrational Mind.

Part I: The Best Thinkers Take Charge of Their Egocentric Nature.

Understand Egocentric Thinking.

Understand Egocentrism as a Mind Within the Mind.

Successful Egocentric Thinking.

Unsuccessful Egocentric Thinking.

Rational Thinking.

Two Egocentric Functions.

Egocentric Domination.

Egocentric Submission.

Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind.

The Best Thinkers Challenge the Pathological Tendencies of Their Minds.

The Challenge of Rationality.


Part II: The Best Thinkers Take Charge of Their Sociocentric Thinking.

The Nature of Sociocentrism.

Social Stratification.

Sociocentric Thinking Is Unconscious and Potentially Dangerous.

Sociocentric Uses of Language.

Disclose Sociocentric Thinking Through Conceptual Analysis.

Reveal Ideology at Work Through Conceptual Analysis.

The Mass Media Foster Sociocentric Thinking.

Conclusion: The Best Thinkers Work to Free Themselves from Egocentric and Sociocentric Thought.



10. The Stages of Critical Thinking Development: At What Stage Are You?

Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker.

Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker.

Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker.

Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker.





Appendix A: Further Exercises in Close Reading and Substantive Writing.

The Nineteenth-Century American, by Henry Steele Commager.

The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm.

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl.

History of the Great American Fortunes, by Gustavus Myers.

On Liberty, by H. L. Mencken.

Corn-Pone Opinions, by Mark Twain.

The Idea of Education, by John Henry Newman.


Appendix B: Sample Analyses of “The Logic of . . .”


Appendix C: What We Mean By “The Best Thinkers?”







Editorial Reviews

"This book is well-written, lucid and contains abundant examples and applications that not only enliven the subject matter but present relevant contexts for building understanding and advanced critical thinking.  In addition, it is faithful to the complexity and work required to improve one's thinking.  It does not soft-pedal the challenge but actually throws down the gauntlet to the worthy Reader to pick it up." --Stephen J. Knopp, Ph.D., Ohio University  "This concise version is a more comprehensive and robust textbook.  Many Critical Thinking books cover thinking from a narrow angle, but Paul and Elder offer a model of critical thinking that can be applied not only to academic disciplines but also to life in general." --Connie Wolfe, Surry Community College