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Unformatted text preview: & && && && && & & & & By Greg R. Haskins email@example.com August 15, 2006 Acknowledgment : Much of this paper was based on two sources, both by Robert Todd Carroll, Ph. D: 1) Becoming a Critical Thinker - A Guide for the New Millennium , Pearson Custom Publishing, 2000; and 2 ) The Skeptics Dictionary, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003. Please refer to these excellent references, especially the first one mentioned, for a more in-depth introduction to critical thinking. This paper presents a concise introduction to critical thinking. It is intended as a handy tool to help anyone evaluate or develop sound reasoning and arguments. Table of Contents Page Introduction 2 What Critical Thinking is Not 3 Step 1: Adopt the Attitude of a Critical Thinker 4 Step 2: Recognize & Avoid Critical Thinking Hindrances 5 Step 3: Identify & Characterize Arguments 6 Step 4: Evaluate Information Sources 7 Step 5: Evaluate Arguments 8 Argument Checklist 10 Tables of Critical Thinking Hindrances 11 & && && && && & & & & Greg R. Haskins 2 Introduction There have been many definitions of critical thinking. From a practical perspective, it may be defined as: A process by which we use our knowledge and intelligence to effectively arrive at the most reasonable and justifiable positions on issues, and which endeavors to identify and overcome the numerous hindrances to rational thinking. Not everyone values the need for critical thinking. Often, being methodically objective is viewed as cold, sterile, and worst of all, boring. To those who say Have faith and let your feelings guide you to the truth, or Dont let facts get in the way of an inspiring or interesting story, these words will probably not resonate. But for those who truly understand and appreciate the importance of critical thinking, this paper, including the attached tables, can become a useful reference for daily life. Just because you are intelligent or have great knowledge does not mean you can think critically. A profound genius may have the most irrational of beliefs or the most unreasonable of opinions. Critical thinking is about how we use our intelligence and knowledge to reach objective and rationale viewpoints. Opinions and beliefs based on critical thinking stand on firmer ground compared to those formulated through less rational processes. Additionally, critical thinkers are usually better equipped to make decisions and solve problems compared to those who lack this ability....
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