Critical thinking

analysis of facts, with certain levels of rigor and problem-solving abilities, to form a judgment

Critical thinking is a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false.

The thinker, Auguste Rodin.


  • There's a reason for this, there's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got... because the owners of this country don’t want that. I'm talking about the real owners now... the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests...
  • The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
  • Sight, when used in the context of nature, creates direct communication with reality. It implies that one is involved in this particular reality and quickly leads a person to action. But when the image has become artificial and is purely a means of knowledge, the reaction persists. I feel directly involved in what I see, just as prehistoric people did. And if I am seeing objects or ideas, I am not truly independent; I cannot really take my distance from these objects. From the intellectual point of view, this means I cannot really exercise my critical faculties. The use of images to transmit knowledge leads to the progressive elimination of distance between a person and his knowledge, because of the way we are made to participate when this means is used (this is, of course, in perfect accord with technical civilization, and to be desired by its standards). The critical faculties and autonomy of the thinking person are also eliminated.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (1981), J. Hanks, trans. (1985), p. 212.
  • The Bush regime doesn't believe in funding education because if you fund education you will have a more educated populace. If you have a more educated populace, you will have critical thinking. If you have critical thinking, you cannot push this agenda that they have and you won't have as many people that are so willing to serve in the armed forces for Dick Cheney.
  • It is impossible to learn much in today's world without letting somebody else crunch the numbers and offer us explanations. And teachers are sources of necessary information. But how we choose our "authorities" and place a value on such information, is just another skill rarely taught in our education systems. It's little wonder that to most folk, sound bites and talking heads are enough to count as experts. […] Teaching is reinforcing the appeal to authority, where anybody who seems more intelligent than you must ultimately be right. […] We educators must simply role-model critical thinking. […] Educators themselves have to be prepared to show that "evidence" and "answers" are two separate things by firmly believing that, themselves.
    • Mike McRae, Australian teacher and guest columnist, "Educating Future Critical Thinkers", Swift, 31 March 2006.
  • Critical thinking is more than a set of skills and processes and there are many different skills and actions that may be involved in critical thinking;
    Emotion and emotional climate (two different things) are relevant and may need to be to be taken into account;
    Critical thinking is 'nurtured' in it's development. Nurturing might imply that it is best developed in a challenging environment which is relatively free of threat;
    • Jennifer Moon (2012) Critical Thinking: An Exploration of Theory and Practice. p. 54.
  • A more detailed, but still uncontroversial comprehensive, definition is that philosophy is rationally critical thinking, of a more or less systematic kind about the general nature of the world (metaphysics or theory of existence), the justification of belief (epistemology or theory of knowledge), and the conduct of life (ethics or theory of value). Each of these three elements...
    • Anthony Quinton (born 1925) in: Ted Honderich ed. (1995) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Precisely by inculcating a critical attitude, the "canon" served to demythologize the conventional pieties of the American bourgeoisie and provided the student with a perspective from which to critically analyze American culture and institutions. Ironically, the same tradition is now regarded as oppressive. The texts once served an unmasking function; now we are told that it is the texts which must be unmasked.
    • John Searle, "The Storm Over the University", The New York Review of Books, December 6, 1990.
  • The purpose of critical thinking... is rethinking: that is, reviewing, evaluating, and revising thought.
    • Jon Stratton (1999) Critical Thinking for College Students.
  • The last thing the men behind the curtain want is a conscious informed public capable of critical thinking. Which is why a continually fraudulent zeitgeist is output via religion, the mass media, and the educational system. They seek to keep you in a distracted, naive bubble. And they are doing a damn good job of it.

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