JANSHIGA CHELVARAJAH –SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Critical Thinking –Chapter 1 Notes
Why is it important?
-Many people follow those who have authority or are superior in
position to them even though they know some of the orders given to
them are wrong or not the right thing to do
Example: The Milgram Experiement where they electric shocked
people & 65% cont’d to do the shock b/c they couldn’t come up w. a
good reason for them to stop the experiment.
-Critical Thinking skills are important b/c when major life decisions are
not carefully thought out, there can be major consequences like
dropping out of school or choosing a career path you do not like.
-People who are good critical thinkers have higher self-esteem, better
relationships and enhanced sense of well-being. They don’t have to
rely on others to make the decisions for them.
What is Critcal Thinking?
Critical Thinking: skills used everyday for intellectual and personal
Logic: Methods & principles used to distinguish a good argument from
a poor one.
Opinion: personal views rather than reason or facts.
-People must have logical support for their beliefs. Opinions are not
facts so they can often lead to poor decisions. Everyone is entitled to
his or her own opinion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean his or her
opinion is right.
Cognitive Development in College Students
-Becoming a CTer is a lifelong process
-William Perry, Jr. (1913-1998) was among the 1 to study college
students & their cognitive development
-He developed 9 positions, which researchers made into 3 stages:
Stage 1) Dualism JANSHIGA CHELVARAJAH –SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Stage 2) Relativism
Stage 3) Commitment
Stage 1: Dualism
-Younger students like freshmen & sophomores are more likely to
follow instructions by authority & think that the authority has all the
-They think in black & white. It’s either right or wrong for them.
Confirmation Bias: during the dualistic stage of research on an issue,
one only researches on what makes their views right, disregarding
anything that contradicts.
-This is why many young people are more likely to fall for con artists,
financial fraud & identity theft b/c they lack CT skills
Transition to Stage 2
-A few uncertainties and opposing opinions but is only temporary
-Authorities work on solving the problem even though they don’t know
the answer yet & it may take long to answer
Stage 2: Relativism
-There is no right or wrong answer & everyone has a right to his or her
-Sometimes authorities want you to come up with an answer in a
certain way + support your opinion
Transition to Stage 3
-Think is relative but not all are equally valid
-Confusion on how to know whether you are making the right choice if
thinking is relative to one another
Stage 3: Commitment
-Don’t follow authority all the time.
-Do what you think is right in the situation, come up with a solution
that is logical & is based on evidence & has a well-reasoned argument JANSHIGA CHELVARAJAH –SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Characteristics of a Good Critical Thinker
-Research and Inquiry Skills
-Flexibility and Tolerance for Ambiguity
-Creative Problem Solving
-Attentive, Mindful, & Curious
-Be able to analyze and provide logical support of your beliefs
-Recognizing and evaluating other people’s arguments so you don’t
believe their arguments if they have poor reasoning
-Communication skills such as: listening, speaking and writing skills
-Aware of their own communication style, the cultural variations and
differences between the communication styles between the different
sex (to help communication in a relationship)
Research & Inquiry Skills
-Able to gather, evaluate & come up with supporting evidence
-Asking the right questions that are clearly thought out
-Avoids confirmations bias (finding research/evidence that fits or own
Flexibility & Tolerance for Ambiguity
-Looks through claims & evidence and judges & tolerates the
broadness JANSHIGA CHELVARAJAH –SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
-Setting clear short-term & long-term goals in our lives & developing a
realistic strategy for achieving these goals.
-Able to adapt to change
-Willing to overcome personal prejudices & biases
-Begin w/ open mind & are have a skeptical attitude
Method of Doubt: putting aside our preconceived ideas & beliefs & just
a begin in a skepticism (questioning facts, b