A Super-Streamlined Conception of Critical Thinking

       Robert H. Ennis, 6/20/02

Assuming that critical thinking is reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do, a critical thinker:

1.  Is open-minded and mindful of alternatives

2.  Tries to be well-informed

3.  Judges well the credibility of sources

4.  Identifies conclusions, reasons, and assumptions

5.  Judges well the quality of an argument, including the acceptability of its reasons, assumptions, and evidence

6.  Can well develop and defend a reasonable position

7.  Asks appropriate clarifying questions

8.   Formulates plausible hypotheses; plans experiments well

9.   Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context

10. Draws conclusions when warranted, but with caution

11. Integrates all items in this list when deciding what to believe or do

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