"A man who does not think for himself does not think at all."
Oscar Wilde




Critical Thinking
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Critical Thinking: Definition
Traits of a Critical Thinker

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Think About ... Critical Thinking Traits & Characteristics

How do we know that a person is a good thinker? What are the characteristics of a critical thinker? Consider these:

  • Good critical thinkers deliberate. They don't just react from the gut or go with their first instinct--they first think carefully.

  • Strong thinkers are able to recognize complexities and work within them.

  • Good critical thinkers are curious.

  • All critical thinkers share a desire to seek the truth.

  • Critical thinkers communicate clearly and logically.

  • Good thinkers are fairminded. They consider multiple points of view before drawing a conclusion.

  • Critical thinkers share intellectual empathy.

  • Good thinkers demonstrate integrity and intellectual courage.

  • Strong critical thinkers are able to develop reasonable conclusions using analysis, evaluation, inference, and deduction.

Think about which of these traits you already have. As you move through your coursework, try to enhance the critical thinking traits you have already and add more of these good thinking characteristics.

A Few Resources

For even more far-reaching resources, visit Resources.


The explanation above is taken largely from Insight Assessment (www.insightassessment.com/test-cctst2k.html#STScales), developers of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Examples and further explanations are contributed from Dr. Janusz Polanowski, Philosophy. 


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