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Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, Second Edition by Richard Paul, Linda Elder

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Chapter 3. Becoming a Fairminded Thinker

Weak Versus Strong Sense Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves basic intellectual skills, but these skills can be used to serve two incompatible ends: self-centeredness and fairmindedness. As we develop the basic intellectual skills that critical thinking entails, we can begin to use those skills in a selfish or in a fairminded way. In other words, we can develop in such a way that we learn to see mistakes in our own thinking, as well as in the thinking of others. Or we can merely develop some proficiency in making our opponent’s thinking look bad.

Typically, people see mistakes in other’s thinking without being able to credit the strengths in those opposing views. Liberals see mistakes in the ...

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