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Relational Frame Therapy (RFT) premises that our uniquely human ability to evaluate, mentally connect, and verbally communicate phenomena can be as damaging as it is useful. Closely related to RFT, ACT is based on the idea that over-identifying with language contributes to psychological inflexibility (Hayes et al., 1999; Stoddard & Afari, 2014).
Thus, ACT and RFT both use metaphors as a means of helping clients understand the impact of their thoughts and emotions on their behaviors while enabling them to reconceptualize those psychological processes in more adaptive ways (Foody et al., 2014).
A propositional fallacy is an error that concerns compound propositions. For a compound proposition to be true, the truth values of its constituent parts must satisfy the relevant logical connectives that occur in it (most commonly: [and], [or], [not], [only if], [if and only if]). The following fallacies involve relations whose truth values are not guaranteed and therefore not guaranteed to yield true conclusions.Types of propositional fallacies:
A red herring fallacy, one of the main subtypes of fallacies of relevance, is an error in logic where a proposition is, or is intended to be, misleading in order to make irrelevant or false inferences. This includes any logical inference based on fake arguments, intended to replace the lack of real arguments or to replace implicitly the subject of the discussion.
Before considering the definition of critical thinking, it will behelpful to have in mind some examples of critical thinking, as well assome examples of kinds of thinking that would apparently not count ascritical thinking.
What is critical thinking? There are many definitions. Ennis (2016)lists 14 philosophically oriented scholarly definitions and threedictionary definitions. Following Rawls (1971), who distinguished hisconception of justice from a utilitarian conception but regarded themas rival conceptions of the same concept, Ennis maintains that the 17definitions are different conceptions of the same concept. Rawlsarticulated the shared concept of justice as
Bailin et al. (1999b) claim that, if one considers what sorts ofthinking an educator would take not to be critical thinking and whatsorts to be critical thinking, one can conclude that educatorstypically understand critical thinking to have at least threefeatures.
One could sum up the core concept that involves these three featuresby saying that critical thinking is careful goal-directed thinking.This core concept seems to apply to all the examples of criticalthinking described in the previous section. As for the non-examples,their exclusion depends on construing careful thinking as excludingjumping immediately to conclusions, suspending judgment no matter howstrong the evidence, reasoning from an unquestioned ideological orreligious perspective, and routinely using an algorithm to answer aquestion.
Checklist conceptions of the process of critical thinking are open tothe objection that they are too mechanical and procedural to fit themulti-dimensional and emotionally charged issues for which criticalthinking is urgently needed (Paul 1984). For such issues, a moredialectical process is advocated, in which competing relevant worldviews are identified, their implications explored, and some sort ofcreative synthesis attempted.
If one considers the critical thinking process illustrated by the 11examples, one can identify distinct kinds of mental acts and mentalstates that form part of it. To distinguish, label and brieflycharacterize these components is a useful preliminary to identifyingabilities, skills, dispositions, attitudes, habits and the like thatcontribute causally to thinking critically. Identifying such abilitiesand habits is in turn a useful preliminary to setting educationalgoals. Setting the goals is in its turn a useful preliminary todesigning strategies for helping learners to achieve the goals and todesigning ways of measuring the extent to which learners have done so.Such measures provide both feedback to learners on their achievementand a basis for experimental research on the effectiveness of variousstrategies for educating people to think critically. Let us begin,then, by distinguishing the kinds of mental acts and mental eventsthat can occur in a critical thinking process.
Consider willingness first. We can identify causal contributors towillingness to think critically by considering factors that wouldcause a person who was able to think critically about an issuenevertheless not to do so (Hamby 2014). For each factor, the oppositecondition thus contributes causally to willingness to think criticallyon a particular occasion. For example, people who habitually jump toconclusions without considering alternatives will not think criticallyabout issues that arise, even if they have the required abilities. Thecontrary condition of willingness to suspend judgment is thus a causalcontributor to thinking critically.
Some theorists postulate skills, i.e., acquired abilities, asoperative in critical thinking. It is not obvious, however, that agood mental act is the exercise of a generic acquired skill. Inferringan expected time of arrival, as in Transit, has some generic components but also uses non-generic subject-matterknowledge. Bailin et al. (1999a) argue against viewing criticalthinking skills as generic and discrete, on the ground that skilledperformance at a critical thinking task cannot be separated fromknowledge of concepts and from domain-specific principles of goodthinking. Talk of skills, they concede, is unproblematic if it meansmerely that a person with critical thinking skills is capable ofintelligent performance.
The abilities described in the remaining paragraphs of this sectionemerge from reflection on the general abilities needed to do well thethinking activities identified in section 6 as components of the critical thinking process described in section 5. The derivation of each collection of abilities is accompanied bycitation of sources that list such abilities and of standardized teststhat claim to test them.
Questioning abilities: A critical thinking process needstransformation of an inchoate sense of perplexity into a clearquestion. Formulating a question well requires not building inquestionable assumptions, not prejudging the issue, and using languagethat in context is unambiguous and precise enough (Ennis 1962: 97;1991: 9).
Critical thinking about an issue requires substantive knowledge of thedomain to which the issue belongs. Critical thinking abilities are nota magic elixir that can be applied to any issue whatever by somebodywho has no knowledge of the facts relevant to exploring that issue.For example, the student in Bubbles needed to know that gases do not penetrate solid objects like aglass, that air expands when heated, that the volume of an enclosedgas varies directly with its temperature and inversely with itspressure, and that hot objects will spontaneously cool down to theambient temperature of their surroundings unless kept hot byinsulation or a source of heat. Critical thinkers thus need a richfund of subject-matter knowledge relevant to the variety of situationsthey encounter. This fact is recognized in the inclusion amongcritical thinking dispositions of a concern to become and remaingenerally well informed.
Experimental educational interventions, with control groups, haveshown that education can improve critical thinking skills anddispositions, as measured by standardized tests. For information aboutthese tests, see the Supplement on Assessment.
What educational methods are most effective at developing thedispositions, abilities and knowledge of a critical thinker? In acomprehensive meta-analysis of experimental and quasi-experimentalstudies of strategies for teaching students to think critically,Abrami et al. (2015) found that dialogue, anchored instruction, andmentoring each increased the effectiveness of the educationalintervention, and that they were most effective when combined. Theyalso found that in these studies a combination of separate instructionin critical thinking with subject-matter instruction in which studentsare encouraged to think critically was more effective than either byitself. However, the difference was not statistically significant;that is, it might have arisen by chance.
Most of these studies lack the longitudinal follow-up required todetermine whether the observed differential improvements in criticalthinking abilities or dispositions continue over time, for exampleuntil high school or college graduation. For details on studies ofmethods of developing critical thinking skills and dispositions, seethe Supplement on Educational Methods.
Scholars have denied the generalizability of critical thinkingabilities across subject domains, have alleged bias in criticalthinking theory and pedagogy, and have investigated the relationshipof critical thinking to other kinds of thinking.
The thesis of empirical subject-specificity raises the general problemof transfer. If critical thinking abilities and dispositions have tobe developed independently in each school subject, how are they of anyuse in dealing with the problems of everyday life and the politicaland social issues of contemporary society, most of which do not fitinto the framework of a traditional school subject? Proponents ofempirical subject-specificity tend to argue that transfer is morelikely to occur if there is critical thinking instruction in a varietyof domains, with explicit attention to dispositions and abilities thatcut across domains. But evidence for this claim is scanty. There is aneed for well-designed empirical studies that investigate theconditions that make transfer more likely. 2b1af7f3a8