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Chapters 1-2 All key terms Critical Thinking defined The approaches to faith and reason Characteristics of a good critical thinker Three levels of thinking Barriers to critical thinking The role of reason in critical thinking How emotions affect critical thinking

Critical Thinking

a collection of skills we use every day that are necessary for our full intellectual and personal development.

Critical thinking requires _____ rather than simply WHAT to think


Define Logic

the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct or good arguments from poor arguments.

Critical Thinking involves....

the application of the rules of logic as well as gathering evidence, evaluating it, and coming up with a plan of action.

Critical Thinking is not...

C.T. is not simply a matter of asserting our opinions on issues.

Define Opinion

a belief based solely on personal feelings rather than on reason or facts.

What are the 4 factors that shape our ability to think critically and make effective life decisions?

1) our stage of cognitive development
2) the possession of good analytical communication
3) research skills
4) characteristics as open-mindedness, flexibility, and creativity.

Stage 1: DUALISM:

There are right and wrong answers. Authorities know the right answers; those who don't are frauds. If I work hard and learn everything they say, I too will know the right answers.


When the authorities don't have the right answers, everyone has a right to his or her own opinion; there are no right or wrong answers. In some cases, authorities don't give me the right ans wers; instead they want me to think about things in a certain way and support

Stage 3: Commitment

I should not just blindly follow or oppose authority. I need to orient myself in an uncertain world and make a decision or commitment to a position that is based on evidence and well-reasoned arguments.

2nd approach to faith and reasoning

1) Fideism-the belief that the divine is revealed through faith and does not require reason.

2nd approach to faith and reasoning

2) Rationalism- The belief that religion should be consistent with reason and evidence.

3rd approach to faith and reasoning

Critical rationalism- belief that faith is based on direct revelation of God and that there should be no logical inconsistencies between revelation and reason.

Emotional positive effects on CT

empathy, moral indignation or outrage, love ,happiness, guilt. Emotion can motivate us to correct past mistakes.

Emotional Negative effects on CT

Anger and fear

An empathetic person is...

more flexible and open to others' perspectives and is motivated to use critical analysis, important skills in formulating a satisfactory logical argument regarding a plan of action.

Emotion alerts us to...

problems and to other people's perspectives.


belief, trust, and obedience to a religious deity.


a person who does not believe in the existence of a personal God.


a person who believes that the existence of God is ultimately unknowable.


the ability to enter into and understand the experiences and emotions of others, can also alert us to oppression, as well as enhance our personal relationships by making us better listeners and communicators

Characteristics of a good Critical thinker

Good analytical skills, effective communication skills, well informed and possess good research skills, be flexible and able to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, adopt a position of open-minded skepticism, be a creative problem solver, be attentive, mindful, and intellectually curious, engage in collaborative learning.

Confirmation bias:

at the dualistic stage of research, seeking out only evidence that supports your view and dismissing evidence that contradicts it.

Method of doubt

a method of critical analysis in which we put aside our preconceive
d ideas and beliefs and begin from a position of skepticism.

Method of belief

method of critical analysis in which we suspend our doubts and biases and remain genuinely open to what people with opposing views are saying.


a form of government in which the highest power in the state is invested in the people and exercised directly by them or, as is generally the case in modern democracies, by their elected officials.

Three levels of Critical Thinking


Barriers to CT



hanging out with only people that agree with you


respond with glares, threats, physical violence, gang activity, or even war


respond with "don't force your views on me," "It's all relative," "To each his own," "Things always work out for the best," "I have a right to my own opinion,"




We are ignorant about an issue simply because the information about it is not available to us. Sometimes we just don't want to know. It's a resistance when we intentionally avoid learning about a particular issue.


fear you won't be accepted by peers if you disagree with them. Others conform because they don't have a point of view of their own on an issue.


It is appropriate to struggle with a difficult issue before deciding about it, but some people get too caught up in the minute details that nothing gets accomplished.


We distract our minds with TV, phones, internet, etc, or just overeat instead of examining the facts


rigid beliefs that interfere with critical analysis of our world views.

(Type of narrow-mindedness) ABSOLUTISM

thinking authority provides us with the "absolutely correct knowledge" or thinking there's no other way.

(Type of narrow-mindedness) ANTHROPOCENTRISM

the belief that humans are the central or most significant entity of the universe can blind people, including scientists, to the capabilities of other animals. (animals and others exist not in their own right, but for humans).

(Type of narrow-mindedness) EGOCENTRISM

the belief that the self or individual is the center of all things. (and no regard for other's interests and thoughts).

(Type of narrow-mindedness) ETHNOCENTRISM

the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own group and culture is characterized by suspicion and a lack of understanding about other cultures. (make decisions on the basis of stereotypes).


involves holding two contradictory views at the same time and believing both to be true.

Cognitive dissonance:

a sense of disorientation which occurs in situations where new ideas directly conflict with a person's worldview.

Social dissonance:

a sense of disorientation which occurs when the social behavior and norms of others conflicts with a person's worldview.


We need to keep an OPEN mind at all times, even when it's about ourselves.
We need to put ourselves in others' shoes.
We need to analyze all positions and research information.
We can't be affected by peer pressure.
We need to problem solve and communicate well.

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