MODR 1770 Sept 24/12
CH 1 – The Power of Critical Thinking Lecture + Notes
Systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs or statements by rational standards;
involves distinct procedures & methods (not just feelings)
Not about what you think but how you think
Not descriptive; normative; which beliefs are worth having (likely to be true; has
good reasons to accept it) and which aren't, not what causes a belief
Grounded in evidence, justification, objectively defend/support/evaluate beliefs &
how to apply this to determine if something is plausible / not.
o Logical rationale behind belief
o Truth is objective not relative
If critical thinking is used and reasons for and against are not strong enough then
judgement on belief can be withheld.
The study of good reasoning or inference, and the rules that govern it
Critical thinking and feelings complement one another; can help clarify our feelings
and deal with them more effectively.
Our thinking guides our actions, so it should be of high quality
One way of defending against the ‘cognitive biases’ that tend to lead us to false
conclusions and bad decisions
To examine your beliefs is to examine your life; Socrates: ‘the unexamined life is not
Involves determining what we’re justified in believing, being open to new
perspectives & fairly assessing the views of others & ourselves
Why should we thinking critically?
Who we are is largely determined by our actions and choices
Our actions and choices are in part determined by our thoughts and beliefs
If we don't choose our beliefs carefully, we're giving up control
If you haven't chosen your beliefs, are they really yours?
o If they're not yours, then whose are they?
To critically examine your beliefs is to critically examine your life (since your beliefs
shape your life)
C OMMON CONCERNS : MODR 1770 Sept 24/12
Will critical thinking make us too logical?
Can prevent our emotions from unduly influencing our judgement, but doesn't
eliminate our emotions.
Helps to clarify things about which we should feel passionately, but it doesn't
remove the passion.