The 27th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking -- July 23 -- 26, 2007
Keynote Address -- July 23, 2007
Richard Paul, Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking,
Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking
Berkeley, CA — "Good morning! ...
My remarks center this morning on critical thinking in every domain of knowledge and belief. And my subtext is something like this. Intellectual work, deeply conceived, conduces to significant changes in intellectual skill and understanding. Critical thinking, if somehow it became generalized in the world, would produce a new and very different world, a world which increasingly is not only in our interest but is necessary to our survival.
But, what is critical thinking? ... There are many ways to initially define it. Sometimes I’ve thought of it as a system for opening every system (that exists). It opens up business. It opens up Chemistry. It opens up sports like tennis and basketball. It opens up professional practice. It opens up Ethics and enables us to see through ideology. It enables us to put things into intellectual perspective. A system that opens up systems is one way to think of critical thinking.
Here’s another way. Critical thinking is thinking that analyzes thought, that assesses thought, and that transforms thought for the better.
Here’s a third way to talk about critical thinking overlapping and related to the other two. It’s thinking about....
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