What resources do you recommend for developing critical thinking?

I took the VIA Survey of Character Strengths and Judgement, critical thinking, and open mindedness came as my top strength. This is what they say about it:

Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You don't jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

I am looking for resources that help me with the process of critical thinking. Open mindedness is a state and so is judgement but critical thinking (although I do it naturally) is a skill that can be developed and something I have never studied. I'm aware that although I think things through carefully and logically this has never been through a particular framework and I certainly couldn't engage fully in a skillful debate with someone who has a good understanding of critical thinking. I also don't understand exactly how I am breaking something down when I'm being critical and without an understanding of the processes I am probably a bit inconsistent. As such:

  • What areas of critical thinking would you recommend for a beginner?
  • What resources correlate well to those recommendations?
  • Do you have any other general advice for a critical thinker?

Thanks in advanced everyone. I know there are a lot of critical thinkers here on AoM.

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Aimed at educators, but interesting. 


Thanks, I'm an English teacher so the focus isn't entirely irrelevant. 

Obviously nothing is more than an opinion. Critical thinking is simply a repeatable, structured process that leads to more consistent results than simply pondering however you deem fit at the time. All of your arguments could be made about pretty much anything and I get the impression you enjoy playing Devil's Advocate and punching holes in whatever you can for the mere fun of it.

Critical thinking is undoubtedly useful for a lot of people. I never suggested it is some God like science which enables you to see the truth in anything. You read between the lines a bit too much there. Most of your questions are actually irrelevant based on my thoughts and opinions on the topic and you aren't actually responding to what I asked, just trying to demean me and the others here with little understanding of my views on the world. 

To be honest Titus I don't know what you are really talking about. I don't understand your post. I assume that makes me less intelligent than you but that would only come down to an opinion again I guess.

I would suggest that critical thinking (in my VERY limited knowledge, hence the above question) is a non science, it is simply a skill to enable someone to use deductive thinking and questioning more effectively to try and gauge the validity of something or the likelihood of something being correct.

It is a helpful starting point and it won't be 100% useful 100% of the time but I would definitely say it is a good starting point for analyzing a lot of things. But there isn't much point going into this conversation because I am ignorant of the specifics and even the proposed premise of critical thinking. I've come here to find resources not to be questioned on the fundamental basis of whether critical thinking is useful.

Because the fact is, I don't have a clue! I barely know anything about it. We could have this discussion in the future but right now I can't confidently answer the questions. 

This I can agree with. I don't know how useful critical thinking will be for me but I can't rightly use that to dismiss finding out.

Without any doubt:  Euclid's Geometry.  It's all about proof.  After you understand what proof is, then it's time to understand what proof is in fuzzy or difficult situations.  That is, start with the easy and clear-cut, and go on to the judgment-call area.

If you do a web search on fallacy, that's also an interesting resource.

I look forward to seeing if anybody has a good text on applying logic in difficult situations.  Usually people writing about critical thinking in popular books are trying to convince you of something, that is, to have you think critically (as in, being critical) of opposing views, and be unquestioning toward theirs, alas.

I already like the look of logical fallacies. Maybe the key to applying logic in difficult situations is purely experiential. 

Learn to ask intelligent questions.

That is pretty much what critical thinking boils down to.


Learn the cognitive traps people have.  Learn how to get around them.  Start looking at writings for these traps.  Once you start recognizing them you can start countering them in your own work.

When I think of Critical Thinking I am drawn to topics or ideas that challenge me.  Maybe the process is less about reading books and more about being able to discuss things with other intelligent people to draw some conclusions about life or any other topic.  Working in the psychology world I am always "critically thinking" about how different pieces of someone's life or assessment fit together to make a whole in order to help better serve that individual.  Conversations help in challenging what and why I think one thing or another.  So, my advice would be to find some friends you can get together with, smoke a cigar, drink some bourbon, and hash out different challenges that face the world! 

I get access to this kind of critical thinking pretty often and it is very stimulating. And it is in these conversations that I'll try and apply the theories of what I'm learning. 


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