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34th International Conference

The world's longest-running conference on critical thinking...

honoring at this year's conference

Bertrand Russell Scholar

Ralph Nader, Public Citizen

Cultivating Educated Citizens and Critical Societies Through
Explicit Fairminded Critical Thinking

Berkeley, CA 
 July 28 - 31, 2014 
Preconference: July 26 - 27, 2014

Together, the Center and Foundation for Critical Thinking have hosted critical thinking academies and conferences for almost 35 years. 

During that time we've played a key role in defining, structuring, assessing, improving, and advancing the principles and best practices of fairminded critical thought in education and in society. Our annual conference provides a unique opportunity for you to improve your understanding of critical thinking, as well as your ability to substantively foster it in instruction, and bring it into all aspects of your life. 

At this year's conference, we emphasize the importance of cultivating the public citizen, as we honor the thought and work of Ralph Nader through the Bertrand Russell Scholars Lecture and program. Accordingly, in additional to our usual sessions for educators, we offer sessions for all citizens, throughout the world, who are interested in improving their ability to reason through complex issues, as public citizens, and in all parts of life. Critical thinking is as essential to thinking like a skilled public citizen as it is to thinking like a skilled educator, administrator, psychologist, historian, scientist, doctor, parent, student…as it is to thinking well within any domain of human thought or through any important issue.

The conference begins with two options for preconference sessions.  The rest of the conference will consist of approximately 40 sessions offered over four days. When you register for the conference, you will choose your preconference and focal sessions for the main conference.  On the third day of the conference you will choose from approximately 25 concurrent sessions. (The full concurrent session program will be available at the conference). Many of the sessions will be posted online in advance. All conference registrants are invited to the Bertrand Russell Scholars program with Ralph Nader. Seating in live or virtual ballroom will be based on date of registration. See registration page for details. Only registered delegates may attend the Nader lecture and conversation.

Conference focal sessions are listed in the conference overview to your right. Focal session descriptions will be posted in the next week. All delegates are encouraged to register for the preconference. The two-day intensive preconference experience with our fellows is highly recommended, as it will help you internalize foundational understandings in critical thinking to be developed and contextualized throughout the conference.

Throughout our work we emphasize the importance of fostering a substantive conception of critical thinking. Such a conception not only highlights the qualities of the educated person, but also implies the proper design of the educational process. It illuminates the importance of education to the cultivation of public citizens and the advancement of free societies. There are essential, minimal conditions for cultivating educated minds. These entail modes of instruction that foster development of the standards, abilities, and traits of the educated person. 

When students are taught using a substantive concept of education as the guide to the design of instruction, they learn to initiate, analyze, and evaluate their own thinking and the thinking of others (within all the content areas they study). Doing so, they come to act more reasonably and effectively in every part of life. They are able to do this because they have acquired intellectual tools and intellectual standards essential to sound reasoning, and to personal and professional judgement. Self-assessment becomes an integral part of their lives. They are able to master content in diverse disciplines. They become proficient readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. They use their learning to raise the quality of their lives and the lives of others. They become reasonable and fairminded persons capable of empathizing with views with which they disagree and disagreeing with views uncritically accepted by those around them. They are able to use their reasoning skills to contribute to their own emotional life, and to transform their desires and motivations accordingly. They come to think, feel, and act effectively and with integrity. 

All conference sessions are designed to converge on basic critical thinking principles, and to enrich a core concept of critical thinking with practical application to learning and to life. All sessions are intellectually engaging, with much writing, reading, and lively discussion among delegates. All participants are integrated into the learning process as we attempt to model and engage in the instructional processes we encourage in education across the world, at every level, in every field of study.

For a richer explanation of core critical thinking concepts, see the Thinker's Guide Library (Click Here).

Main Conference Presenters

Dr. Richard Paul  

Dr. Richard Paul is a distinguished leader in the international critical thinking movement. He is Founder and Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Director of Research at the Center for Critical Thinking; he has authored more than 200 articles and seven books on critical thinking. Dr. Paul has given hundreds of workshops on critical thinking and made a series of eight critical thinking video programs for PBS.   He  has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Distinguished Philosopher (by the Council for Philosophical Studies, 1987), O.C. Tanner Lecturer in Humanities (by Utah State University, 1986), Lansdown Visiting Scholar (by the University of Victoria, 1987), and the Alfred Korsybski Memorial Lecturer (by the Institute for General Semantics, 1987).  His views on critical thinking have been canvassed in the New York Times, Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American Teacher, Leadership, and Newsweek.

Dr. Linda Elder

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President and Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. Dr. Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level, and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators. She has coauthored four books and twenty-one thinker's guides on critical thinking. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and her work.

Dr. Gerald Nosich

Dr. Gerald Nosich is an authority on critical thinking and Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking; he has given more than 150 national and international workshops on the subject. He has worked with the U.S. Department of Education on a project for the National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking skills, has served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Critical Thinking, and has been featured as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia. He is Professor of Philosophy at Buffalo State College in New York and the author of two books, including  Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum.


Dr. Rush Cosgrove

Dr. Rush Cosgrove is Assistant Director of Research and Historian at the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Research Fellow. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, Darwin College.  He holds Masters degrees from both the University of Oxford, New College and the University of Cambridge, Darwin College.  He has conducted research on critical thinking and the Oxford Tutorial, and on the Paulian Framework for critical thinking as contextualized at a major U.S. research university. He conducts workshops in critical thinking for faculty and students, in English as well as Spanish.


Choose one preconference and focal session for each section...

(choose one):
Saturday & Sunday (July 26-27)

  • Cultivating Critical Thinking in Teaching and Learning: the Foundations of Critical Thinking ...  Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder
  • Bringing Critical Thinking Concepts and Principles into the Heart of Socratic Dialogue ...  Dr. Gerald Nosich

Conference Day One 
(choose one focal session):
Monday (July 28)

  • Placing Critical Thinking at the Core of the Core of the College Curriculum ...  Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder
  • Cultivating the Public Citizen Through a Robust Conception of Critical Thinking in Education ...  Dr. Rush Cosgrove
  • Fostering Deep Understanding of Fundamental and Powerful Concepts in Instruction and in Daily Life ...  Dr. Gerald Nosich
  • For Returning Registrants: Socrates, Epictetus and Critical Thinking - Linking Transformative Ideas Throughout History ... Mr. Brian Barnes

Conference Day Two, Morning- 
all conference registrants invited...
Tuesday (July 29)

      Bertrand Russell Distinguished 
    Scholars Lecture & Conversation
       Russell Scholar:  
Ralph Nader


       All Conference delegates are encouraged to actively participate in       this session.  Only those registered            may attend.       

Conference Day Two, Afternoon
(choose one):

Tuesday (July 29)

  • Assessing Students' Critical Thinking...  Dr. Gerald Nosich
  • Emotional Intelligence: a Conceptual Model ...  Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder
  • Intellectual Virtues - Essential to the Public Citizen...  Dr. Rush Cosgrove
  • The Role of Close Reading and Substantive Writing in Education, in the Mind of the Public Citizen and Throughout Life ... Dr. Paul Bankes

Conference Day Three: Morning 
Wednesday (July 30) 

  • Concurrent sessions - To be announced a few weeks prior to the conference. 

    Concurrent sessions are one hour in length. Most sessions are conducted by faculty and administrators who have been working with critical thinking concepts and principles for several years, bringing critical thinking into the individual classroom or across the curriculum. 

Conference Day Three: Afternoon 
Wednesday (July 30)

  • What Current Research Reveals about the State of Critical Thinking in Education Today...  Dr. Rush Cosgrove
  • The Role of Essential Questions in Education and in Cultivating the Public Citizen...  Dr. Gerald Nosich
  • For Administrators: Key Ingredients of an Effective Professional Development Program in Critical Thinking...  Dr. Linda Elder & Dr. Richard Paul
  • What it Means to Be a Public Citizen: Exploring Ralph Nader's Philosophy and World View...  Mr. Brian Barnes

Conference Day Four 
Thursday morning (July 31) 

  • Sociocentrism - a Primary Barrier to the Development of the Public Citizen...  Dr. Linda Elder & Dr. Richard Paul
  • Fostering Multilogical Thinking Across the Disciplines...  Dr. Gerald Nosich
  • Teaching Students to Give Feedback Using Intellectual Standards ...  Dr. Rush Cosgrove   

Berkeley, CA

All conference delegates are invited to participant in …

The Bertrand Russell Distinguished Scholars Lecture and Conversation

This important dimension of the conference highlights the work and thinking of distinguished scholars throughout history who have contributed significantly to the conception, and advancement, of fairminded critical societies. Russell scholars may come from any subject, field, or discipline, or from any domain of human thought. 
This year's scholar is public citizen Ralph Nader. All conference participants are invited to participate in the Russell program. Only conference registrants will be admitted.

Ralph Nader, Public Citizen

Honored by Time Magazine as "One of the 100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century" and as "One of the 100 Most Influential Figures in American History" by The Atlantic, consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader has devoted his life to giving ordinary people the tools they need to defend themselves against corporate negligence and government indifference. With a tireless, selfless dedication, he continues to expose and remedy the dangers that threaten a free and safe society.

Nader's foray into public life began in 1965 when he took on the Goliath of the auto industry with his book Unsafe at Any Speed, a shocking expose of the disregard carmakers held for the safety of their customers. The Senate hearing into Nader's accusations, and the resulting life-saving motor vehicle safety laws, catapulted Nader into the public sphere.

Nader quickly built on the momentum of that success. Working with lawmakers, he was instrumental in creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Laws he helped draft and pass include the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Meat and Poultry Inspection Rules, the Air and Water Pollution Control Laws, and the Freedom of Information Act. Working to empower the average American, Nader has formed numerous citizen groups, including the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Pension Rights Center, the National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest, and the student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) that operate in over 20 states.

Successfully predicting the current financial crisis years ago, Nader has outlined a ten-point plan for recovery. His plan involves sweeping reforms for the financial and housing markets, as well as increased public accountability for any institution seeking a bailout. Nader has also defended the integrity of public office by rallying against the laws allowing multinational corporations to make unlimited donations to political campaigns. 

Among his best-selling books are Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President, Winning the Insurance Game, Why Women Pay More, Getting the Best from Your Doctor. Other titles include Children First: A Parent's Guide to Fighting Corporate Predators, No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America, andThe Ralph Nader Reader. He also writes a weekly column, "In the Public Interest," which runs in newspapers around the US.

Both citizens and corporate audiences listen intently to what Nader has to say. Years after they graduate, college students tell him how his lecture changed their lives. His message is simple and compelling: "To go through life as a non-citizen would be to feel there's nothing you can do, that nobody's listening, that you don't matter. But to be a citizen is to enjoy the deep satisfaction of seeing the prevention of pain, misery, and injustice."

For more information on Mr. Nader, visit

HOTEL INFO:The Conference will be held at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA.

Book rooms by calling the Claremont and asking for the Critical Thinking Room Block:

Claremont Hotel: (800) 551-7266

Conference hotel special room rate: $175 per room per night, plus tax.

Limited rooms available. Book early.

Additional hotel information to be posted presently.

Conference Rates:
34th International Conference on Critical Thinking
Cost Per Person
EVENT OPTIONS:  If Paid Between Nov. 20, 2013 and June 26, 2014 1 Person 2-3 people 4-6 People 7 or More
34th International Conference (only) - early registration $510.00 $485.00 $460.00 $375.00
34th International Conference with Preconference - early registration $720.00 $695.00 $670.00 $585.00
EVENT OPTIONS:  If Paid After June 26, 2014 and Before July 26, 2014 1 Person 2-3 people 4-6 People 7 or More
34th International Conference (Only) $540.00 $515.00 $490.00 $405.00
34th International Conference with Preconference $760.00 $735.00 $710.00 $625.00
EVENT OPTIONS:  If Paid After Nov. 20, 2013 and Before July 26, 2014 1 Person 2-3 people 4-6 People 7 or More
34th International - Preconference Only $310.00 $310.00 $310.00 $310.00



Video Clips From Our Previous Conferences