You are previewing Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, Second Edition.
O'Reilly logo
Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, Second Edition

Book Description

Use better thinking to empower yourself, discover opportunities, avoid disastrous mistakes, build wealth, and achieve your biggest goals! This is your complete, up-to-the-minute blueprint for assessing and improving the way you think about everything – from business decisions to personal relationships. Drs. Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder, of the Center for Critical Thinking, offer specific guidance for making more intelligent decisions, and overcoming the irrationalities and "sociocentric" limits we all face. Discover which of the "six stages" of thinking you’re in and learn how to think with clarity, relevance, logic, accuracy, depth, significance, precision, breadth, and fairness. Master strategic thinking skills you can use everywhere and learn how to critically assess what experts tell you. Packed with new examples and exercises, this guide won’t just help you think more effectively: it will help you use those skills to empower yourself, discover new opportunities, avoid disastrous mistakes, and grow your wealth. Above all, it will help you gain the confidence and clarity you need to pursue and achieve your most important goals in life – whatever they are!

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. What People Who Know Our Approach Say About the Book
  5. Contents
  6. Dedication
  7. Acknowledgment
  8. Preface
  9. Chapter 1. Thinking in a World of Accelerating Change and Intensifying Danger
    1. The Nature of the Post-Industrial World Order
    2. A Complex World of Accelerating Change
    3. A Threatening World
    4. Change, Danger, and Complexity: Interwoven
    5. The Challenge of Becoming Critical Thinkers
    6. Chapter 1 Summary
    7. Recommended Reading
  10. Chapter 2. Becoming a Critic of Your Thinking
    1. How Skilled Is Your Thinking (Right Now)?
    2. The Hard, Cruel World
    3. Become a Critic of Your Own Thinking
    4. Chapter 2 Summary
    5. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 3. Becoming a Fairminded Thinker
    1. Weak Versus Strong Sense Critical Thinking
    2. What Does Fairmindedness Require?
    3. Intellectual Humility: Having Knowledge of Ignorance
    4. Intellectual Courage: Being Willing to Challenge Beliefs
    5. Intellectual Empathy: Entertaining Opposing Views
    6. Intellectual Integrity: Holding Ourselves to the Same Standards to Which We Hold Others
    7. Intellectual Perseverance: Working Through Complexity and Frustration
    8. Confidence in Reason: Recognizing That Good Reasoning Has Proven Its Worth
    9. Intellectual Autonomy: Being an Independent Thinker
    10. Recognizing the Interdependence of Intellectual Virtues
    11. Conclusion
    12. Natural Versus Critical Thinking
    13. Chapter 3 Summary
  12. Chapter 4. Self-Understanding
    1. Monitoring the Egocentrism in Your Thought and Life
    2. Making a Commitment to Fairmindedness
    3. Recognizing the Mind’s Three Distinctive Functions
    4. Understanding That You Have a Special Relationship to Your Mind
    5. Chapter 4 Summary
  13. Chapter 5. The First Four Stages of Development: What Level Thinker Are You?
    1. Stage 1: The Unreflective Thinker—Are You an Unreflective Thinker?
    2. Stage 2: The Challenged Thinker—Are You Ready to Accept the Challenge?
    3. Stage 3: The Beginning Thinker—Are You Willing to Begin?
    4. Stage 4: The Practicing Thinker—Good Thinking Can Be Practiced Like Basketball, Tennis, or Ballet
    5. Chapter 5 Summary
  14. Chapter 6. The Parts of Thinking
    1. Reasoning Is Everywhere in Human Life
    2. Does Reasoning Have Parts?
    3. Beginning to Think About Your Own Reasoning
    4. The Elements of Thought: A First Look
    5. An Everyday Example: Jack and Jill
    6. The Elements of Thought in Relationship
    7. The Relationship Between the Elements
    8. Thinking to Some Purpose
    9. Thinking with Concepts
    10. Thinking with Information
    11. Distinguishing Between Inert Information, Activated Ignorance, and Activated Knowledge
    12. Some Key Questions to Ask When Pursuing Information
    13. Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions
    14. Understanding Implications
    15. Thinking Within and Across Points of View
    16. Using Critical Thinking to Take Charge of How We See Things
    17. The Point of View of the Critical Thinker
    18. Conclusion
    19. Chapter 6 Summary
  15. Chapter 7. The Standards for Thinking
    1. Taking a Deeper Look at Universal Intellectual Standards
    2. Clarifying a Problem You Face at Work
    3. In Search of Relevant Facts
    4. Bringing Together the Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards
    5. Question at Issue or Problem to Be Solved
    6. Point of View or Frame of Reference
    7. Information, Data, Experiences
    8. Concepts, Theories, Ideas
    9. Assumptions
    10. Implications and Consequences
    11. Inferences
    12. Using Intellectual Standards to Assess Your Thinking: Brief Guidelines
    13. Chapter 7 Summary
  16. Chapter 8. Design Your Life
    1. Fate or Freedom: Which Do You Choose?
    2. The Very Idea of Freedom
    3. Recognizing the Dual Logic of Experience
    4. Social Forces, the Mass Media, and Our Experience
    5. Reading Backward
    6. Implications for the Design of Your Life
    7. Chapter 8 Summary
  17. Chapter 9. The Art of Making Intelligent Decisions
    1. Thinking Globally About Your Life
    2. Evaluating Patterns in Decision-Making
    3. “Big” Decisions
    4. The Logic of Decision-Making
    5. Dimensions of Decision-Making
    6. The Early Decisions
    7. Adolescent Decisions
    8. Early Adult Decisions
    9. Conclusion
    10. Chapter 9 Summary
  18. Chapter 10. Taking Charge of Your Irrational Tendencies
    1. Egocentric Thinking
    2. “Successful” Egocentrism
    3. “Unsuccessful” Egocentrism
    4. Rational Thinking
    5. Two Egocentric Functions
    6. Pathological Tendencies of the Human Mind
    7. The Challenge of Rationality
    8. Chapter 10 Summary
  19. Chapter 11. Monitoring Your Sociocentric Tendencies
    1. The Nature of Sociocentrism
    2. Sociocentric Thinking as Pathology
    3. Social Stratification
    4. Sociocentric Thinking Is Unconscious and Potentially Dangerous
    5. Sociocentric Use of Language in Groups
    6. Disclosing Sociocentric Thinking Through Conceptual Analysis
    7. Revealing Ideology at Work Through Conceptual Analysis
    8. The Mass Media Foster Sociocentric Thinking
    9. Freedom from Sociocentric Thought: The Beginnings of Genuine Conscience
    10. Conclusion
    11. Chapter 11 Summary
  20. Chapter 12. Developing as an Ethical Reasoner
    1. Why People Are Confused About Ethics
    2. The Fundamentals of Ethical Reasoning
    3. Ethical Concepts and Principles
    4. The Universal Nature of Ethical Principles
    5. Distinguishing Ethics from Other Domains of Thinking
    6. Ethics and Religion
    7. Ethics and Social Conventions
    8. Ethics and the Law
    9. Ethics and Sexual Taboos
    10. Understanding Our Native Selfishness
    11. Chapter 12 Summary
  21. Chapter 13. Analyzing and Evaluating Thinking in Corporate and Organizational Life
    1. Critical Thinking and Incremental Improvement
    2. An Obstacle to Critical Thinking Within Organizations: The Covert Struggle for Power
    3. Another Obstacle: Group Definitions of Reality
    4. A Third Obstacle: The Problem of Bureaucracy
    5. The Problem of Misleading Success
    6. Competition, Sound Thinking, and Success
    7. Assessing Irrational Thinking in Organizational Life
    8. The Power of Sound Thinking
    9. Some Personal Implications
    10. Conclusion
    11. Chapter 13 Summary
  22. Chapter 14. Strategic Thinking: Part One
    1. Understanding and Using Strategic Thinking
    2. Components of Strategic Thinking
    3. The Beginnings of Strategic Thinking
    4. Key Idea #1: Thoughts, Feelings, and Desires Are Interdependent
    5. A Caveat: Powerful Emotions That Seem Disconnected from Thought
    6. Key Idea #2: There Is a Logic to This, and You Can Figure It Out
    7. Key Idea #3: For Thinking to Be of High Quality, We Must Routinely Assess It
    8. Chapter 14 Summary
  23. Chapter 15. Strategic Thinking: Part Two
    1. Key Idea #4: Our Native Egocentrism Is a Default Mechanism
    2. Strategic Idea
    3. Key Idea #5: We Must Become Sensitive to the Egocentrism of Those Around Us
    4. Key Idea #6: The Mind Tends to Generalize Beyond the Original Experience
    5. Key Idea #7: Egocentric Thinking Appears to the Mind as Rational
    6. Key Idea #8: The Egocentric Mind Is Automatic in Nature
    7. Key Idea #9: We Often Pursue Power Through Dominating or Submissive Behavior
    8. Key Idea #10: Humans Are Naturally Sociocentric Animals
    9. Key Idea #11: Developing Rationality Requires Work
    10. Conclusion
    11. Chapter 15 Summary
  24. A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts: The Critical Analytic Vocabulary of the English Language
  25. References
  26. About the Authors
  27. Index