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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

Chapter 1 - An Introduction to Critical Thinking: Maybe It Will Change Your Life


We define critical thinking in several different ways that converge on the same basic idea. It is a combination of skills, attitude, and knowledge. To think critically about any topic, one needs a deep knowledge of the topic and the propensity to apply the appropriate thinking skills. These skills can be taught (and learned) in ways that transfer to different topics, but it is not easy or automatic. Instructors need to teach for transfer deliberately. Personality traits such as a concern for truth, being analytic, and being open to new ideas are some of the traits of critical thinkers. Creativity has been defined as creating something that is unusual and useful. It is a special case of critical thinking. The rules for scientific reasoning, avoiding bias, resisting persuasion, and so on are universal, thus we conclude that although culture is always important, the skills for critical thinking are the same everywhere.