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1. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 3
David Wright From the Editor’s Desk
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2. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 3
David Botting Refutations and Sophistical Refutations—Logical or Dialectical Concepts?
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In this paper I will defend a logical conception of refutations and fallacies against objections that are meant to show that a dialectical conception of refutations or fallacies is necessary. I will show that there is only one dialectical concept—not that of a thesis, as those favouring a dialectical analysis argue, but that of a concession—that may need to be added to a logical conception for such a conception to be adequate.
3. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 3
Stefan Sellbjer Triggers Fostering Critical Thinking in the Eyes of the Already Successful
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Using the perspective of those who have already successfully developed such skills, the aim of this article is to examine the types of seminars that may foster critical thinking. Professors and associate professors could be said to be among this group as they have progressed through the academic system to attain a certain level of achievement. Also under investigation is the extent to which such competencies lead to generic skills. In order to understand the context of this empirical study, a short account of a master’s program in pedagogy at the University of Southern Sweden will be outlined. The empirical investigation consists of open-ended informal and conversational interviews carried through as a dialogue. The result is analyzed by three different methods, with focus on two theoretical approaches, i.e. the development of logical traits and the encouragement of transformations. Fifteen of a total of twenty-two exercises are characterized as more suitable for developing logical traits, and nine are categorized as transformative. Perhaps a mix of these two types of seminars would be most effective in promoting generic skills. The results suggest that attitudes play an important role. Two of the keys to promoting generic skills are for lecturers, associate professors and professors to believe in the generic qualities of the exercises and to utilize them themselves.
4. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 3
Jeffrey Maynes Review of Mercier and Sperber’s The Enigma of Reason
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In The Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber (2017) defend the proposal that reason is a specialized module which produces intuitions about reasons. Reason serves two functions: for individuals to justify their own judgments and actions to themselves and others, and to persuade others. In this review, I briefly summarize the central claims of the book, critically examine Mercier and Sperber’s arguments that reason is not a general faculty underlying our inferential abilities, and explore the pedagogical implications of their work.
5. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 2
David Wright From the Editor’s Desk
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6. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 2
Marcus Gillespie, Steven D. Koether, Michelle L. Lewis Fostering the Disposition to Think Critically and a Positive Attitude toward Science: The Results of a Successful Six-Year Study of an Innovative, General Education Integrated Science Course
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Virtually all faculty members agree that teaching their students the ability and disposition to think critically is fundamentally important, and most believe that their pedagogical approaches enhance both. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that college students often fail to substantively improve their critical thinking skills. Other research regarding the public’s perception of certain science topics reveals that a significant proportion of the American public rejects scientific information, i.e., information that is based on both critical thinking and empiricism. This state of affairs limits the ability of individuals and society to make rational decisions. This article describes the results of a novel general education science course designed specifically to address these issues. The six-year study, involving more than 1,400 students, showed that the pedagogical approaches used in the course were successful in enhancing students’ critical thinking, their disposition to think critically, and their willingness to use scientific information when making decisions
7. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 2
John D. Eigenauer Targeted Instruction in Critical Thinking Improves Dispositions
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While much emphasis is placed on the need to improve critical thinking (CT) among college students (Abrami, Bernard, Borokhovski, Wade, Surkes, Tamim, & Zhang, 2008, p. 1102), few studies describe precise methodologies for doing so (Behar-Horenstein & Niu, 2011, p. 36) and even fewer identify improvements in CT dispositions as a desired course outcome (Perkins, Tishman, Ritchhart, Donis, & Andrade, 2000, p. 288). This study attempts to fill a gap in the studies of CT methodologies aimed at improving CT dispositions. In this study, 78 community college students enrolled in a CT course that emphasized targeted CT interventional strategies. The students took the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (CCTDI) as a pre-test and as a post-test. Results indicate that the targeted instruction significantly influenced overall scores, as well as four of the seven subscale categories.
8. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 2
Izaak L Williams Critical Thinking Anxiety: Neurobiology of Pain and Cognitive Avoidance in Ethics
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The goal of this paper is to understand how common aversions to critical thinking, and, in particular, critical thinking related to deliberation about ethics, is arguably akin to math anxiety (MA). However, unlike ethical-critical thinking anxiety (ECTA), MA has a body of literature and neuroscientific findings supporting it and correlating thoughts about math with neurobiology of pain and fear activation. The crux of the paper lies in the answer to the following question: how is ECTA like and unlike MA? Is there a history—educational and otherwise—similar to MA—that leads to ECTA? In this paper, I argue that there are myriad factors contributing to ECTA but that, ultimately, the result is likely the same: a neurobiology of fear/pain response that inhibits ethical thought and judgment, largely given its dependence on critical thinking. My thesis statement, therefore, is that critical thinking engenders the angst engendered by MA and for similar reasons, and I surmise that current models of teaching applied clinical ethics to health care practitioners would benefit from approaches framing the lack of ethical thinking in our field of health and human services as an ego-defense mechanism or neurobiological constraint. This leads to the question of how workshops aimed at teaching ethics take into account the realities of avoidance, promote critical thinking, and avoid the pitfalls of ECTA.
9. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 2
Maria Sanders Review of The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education
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This essay reviews five articles from Part VII in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education (Davies & Barnett, 2015) entitled “Social Perspectives on Critical Thinking.” In this section, the authors explore critical citizenship, critical pedagogy, and knowledge practices of critical thinking. It is a diverse collection of essays ranging from broad discussions on the topics included to specific applications and particular examples demonstrating criticality in higher education classrooms.
10. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Frank Fair From the Editor's Desk
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11. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Linda Elder, Gerald Nosich Introductions to the Memorial Issue
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12. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Linda Elder Richard Paul’s Contributions to the Field of Critical Thinking and to the Establishment of First Principles of in Critical thinking
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Beginning in his PhD program, and over a period of years in the 1960s, Richard Paul thoughtfully examined and deliberately critiqued existing theories of logic and reasoning. He took what was a very narrow conception of reasoning and broadened it to more accurately represent human thinking when people reason. He captured the idea of universal intellectual standards by exploring standards typically used by skilled reasoners, and assembled these standards into a constellation of ideas that is easily understandable. Following the tradition of Socrates, Paul continually emphasized the importance of developing conceptual understandings based in foundational ideas and principles of analysis, and tested through life experience. His work laid the groundwork for what may be termed first principles in critical thinking and for a legitimate field of critical thinking studies.
13. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Gerald Nosich Richard Paul’s Approach to Critical Thinking: Comprehensiveness, Systematicity, and Practicality
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Richard Paul changed the face and the practice of critical thinking for hundreds of thousands of educators, professionals, and reflective persons across the world. In this paper I describe Paul’s goals and, briefly, some of his achievements in articulating his robust approach to critical thinking. I focus primarily on its direct orientation to practicality; its comprehensiveness, its applicability in any domain; and its systematicity, its coherent, interlocking way of laying out all the significant dimensions of critical thinking consistent with use in practice. I also describe some implications of Paul’s work: its relation to other models or approaches that are more limited in their comprehensiveness, systematicity, and/or practicality; the contrast between Paul’s maximally flexible account and accounts or teaching practices based on specific directives; and the capacity Paul’s articulation carries with it of being able to enhance any approach to thinking things through.
14. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Amanda Hiner Truth-seeking Versus Confirmation Bias: How Richard Paul’s Conception of Critical Thinking Cultivates Authentic Research and Fairminded Thinking
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This article, written in response to a kind invitation by Linda Elder, Gerald Nosich, and Frank Fair to contribute a reflective piece honoring the life, work, and intellectual contributions of Dr. Richard Paul, focuses on the ways in which his conception of critical thinking fosters fairminded, authentic, ethical reasoning and research. Richard Paul’s framework for critical thinking emphasizes and cultivates Socratic, “strong-sense,” fairminded thinking and intellectual humility, enabling students to understand the implications of fairminded research and providing them with valuable strategies to combat egocentrism and confirmation bias. This article explains not only why the Paul/Elder conception of critical thinking fosters fairmindedness and ethical reasoning in both students and teachers, but it outlines how the application of this framework for critical thinking can transform classroom teaching and research paper assignments in order to encourage and cultivate metacognitive analysis and authentic research in student writers.
15. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Robert Niewoehner Portaging Richard Paul’s Model to Professional Practice: Ideas that Integrate
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Richard Paul originally developed and disseminated his approach principally through venues targeting K-12 and university education. Together with Linda Elder he sought to ground a culture of critical thinking. Paul and Elder, in collaboration with this author, then extended their approach into the professional practice of engineering. The Engineering Reasoning Thinker’s Guide contextualized the model for engineers. Though intended for engineering students, it resonated with engineers in industry practice, providing a pattern for other guides, such as Clinical Reasoning. Presuming familiarity with the components of Paul and Elder’s approach, this article demonstrates their approach’s applicability to and utility in domains of professional practice, whether engineering, medicine, law, or business. Their approach provides a framework for conceptualizing, synthesizing, and applying material from disparate domains in popular business literature. Organizations that embrace Paul and Elder’s vocabulary will improve the collective thinking skills of their entire work-force. Paul and Elder’s approach provides ideas that integrate.
16. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Donald Hatcher Richard Paul and the Philosophical Foundations of Critical Thinking
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The late Richard Paul was arguably the most well-known and influential person in the history of the critical thinking movement. This reflection on and tribute to his work focuses on Paul’s genius in applying his knowledge of important works in the history of philosophy to the development of a robust conception of critical thinking, one that has wide appeal, not only to philosophers, but to faculties across academe. I also discuss the debt so many of us who teach critical thinking owe to his amazing scholarly and organizational skills, e.g., the 36 years of the Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform, his in-service work for hundreds of faculties, his distribution of over one million “Thinkers Guides,” and his successful efforts to make critical thinking the core concept in education.
17. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 31 > Issue: 1
Patricia Payette, Edna Ross Making a Campus-Wide Commitment to Critical Thinking: Insights and Promising Practices Utilizing the Paul-Elder Approach at the University of Louisville
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The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the multi-year, critical thinking initiative at the University of Louisville called Ideas to Action, or i2a. This article discusses the rationale for the selection of the Paul-Elder critical thinking framework to guide the implementation and assessment of the project across curricular and co-curricular campus arenas. The co-authors used the research of Richard Paul to inform various facets of their project and worked with others on campus to create critical thinking learning communities, and to provide customized instructional consultations, in order to help faculty and staff choose and adopt methodologies that foster students’ explicit development of critical thinking skills. The article discusses three examples of scholarship and innovative programs that resulted from professional staff members’ integration of the critical thinking framework into their work with students.
18. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Frank Fair From the Editor’s Desk
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19. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
Donald Hatcher Critical Thinking Instruction: A Realistic Evaluation The Dream vs. Reality
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Since the 80s, educators have supported instruction in critical thinking (CT) as “an Educational Ideal.” This should not be a surprise given some of the more common conceptions, e.g., Ennis’s “reasonable reflective thinking on what to believe or do,” or Siegel’s “being appropriately moved by reasons,” as opposed to bias, emotion or wishful thinking. Who would want a doctor, lawyer, or mechanic who could not skillfully evaluate arguments, causes, and cures? So, educators endorsed the dream that, through proper CT instruction, students’ critical skills and “rational passions” could be greatly improved. In spite of the dream’s appeal, the reality is, after 30+ years, there is little reason to think the dream resembles reality. After describing what I take to be an adequate definition of CT, such a depressing conclusion will be supported by CT assessment scores from across academe, the continued widespread disagreement among experts in nearly all fields, including CT, and the abundant psychological research on rationality and decision making. And finally, while the ideal extols the value of objectivity, I shall argue that bias may be unavoidable because personal values play a vital role in the evaluation of many arguments.
20. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 30 > Issue: 3
David Wright Are We Asking the Right Questions about Critical Thinking Assessment?: A Response to Hatcher
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This is a response essay to Donald Hatcher’s (2015), “Critical Thinking Instruction: A Realistic Evaluation: The Dream vs. Reality.” Hatcher argues that critical thinking (CT) instruction seriously falls short of the ideal of honestly evaluating alternative evidence and arguments. This failure is apparent, he argues, when one surveys student performance on a variety of CT assessment tests. Hatcher reviews the current CT assessment data, which includes an extensive pool of results collected from Baker University where Hatcher oversaw a sophisticated and well-funded CT program for about two decades. Hatcher also argues that evidence from the philosophical and psychological literatures on disagreement and judgment suggests even CT experts fail to model the ideal and that CT has suffered from an unrealistic conception of rationality and human decision-making. I reply by arguing that, by putting the CT assessment data in a different context and asking an alternative set of questions, one can justifiably derive a more positive evaluation of the future of CT instruction in light of the CT ideal. Instead of focusing on whether students are achieving the CT ideal by the time of the post-test, instructors should ask whether they are making the kind of progress that there is good reason to expect. I close by challenging the soundness of the proposed implications of Hatcher’s arguments.