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Webinar Q&A Sessions
in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online

Participate in webinar Q&A sessions with our internationally recognized Fellows and Scholars.

See below for upcoming webinars. Some are free to the general public, while others are exclusive to members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online. (If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available for this membership website.)

Typically, our webinar announcements provide optional activities for you to complete ahead of time in the Community Online. These will be relevant to the topic at hand; although the activities are not madatory, the new understandings you gain by completing them will help you to ask more refined questions at each webinar.

Please note that these sessions are recorded for later viewing by members of the Community Online, and some clips may be posted on other platforms. If you do not want your person or voice recorded, you can submit your questions via text chat.


Upcoming Webinar Q&A Sessions

The Prevalent Role of Concepts in Human Thought and Action


Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Thursday, December 15th, 2022



8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Open to All!

 

Concepts (also known as ideas) are ideas we use in thinking. They enable us to group things in our experience into different categories, classes, or divisions. They form the basis for the labels we give things in our minds. They represent the mental map (and meanings) we construct of the world, the map that tells us the way the world is. Through our concepts we define situations, events, relationships, and all other objects of our experience. All of our decisions depend on how we conceptualize things, and all subjects or disciplines are defined by their foundational concepts.

For instance, a fundamental concept in ecology is that of an "ecosystem," defined as a group of living things dependent on one another and living in a particular habitat. Ecologists study how differing ecosystems function and how they interrelate with other ecosystems. They are concerned with "ecological succession" — the natural pattern of change occurring within every ecosystem when natural processes are undisturbed. This pattern includes the birth, development, death, and then replacement of ecological communities. Ecologists have grouped communities into larger units called "biomes," regions throughout the world classified according to physical features, including temperature, rainfall, and type of vegetation. Each of these is a seminal concept that cannot merely be seen (or memorized) as just one of many equally important details, but as fundamental for thinking one’s way through virtually any ecological issue, such as imbalance, energy, nutrients, population growth, diversity, habitat, competition, predation, parasitism, adaptation, coevolution, and conservation.

When we master foundational concepts at a deep level, we are able to use them to understand and function better within the world. In this webinar, Dr. Nosich will discuss in further detail how concepts shape and function within human reasoning. We will explore ways of identifying fundamental concepts in our thinking, of determining whether they meet the relevant intellectual standards, and of taking greater command of these concepts as we reason.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar.

1. To see how concepts fit in with the other elements of reasoning, and to see some of the most important intellectual standards to which we should hold the elements of our reasoning (including concepts), review pages 12-20 in the partial copy of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools found in the Community Online.

2. Read the article, “The Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards.”

3. On pages 11 and 12 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on “concept.”

4. View Dr. Elder’s discussion of concepts in the video, “Elements of Reasoning by Dr. Linda Elder – Part 2 of 2.”

5. Complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Concept or Idea.”

6. Advanced: If you would like to explore concepts at a deeper level, consider viewing episode 11 of the Critical Thinking: Going Deeper podcast. This discussion on concepts may help you develop useful questions to ask at the webinar.

Please note that our webinars are recorded for later viewing by members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, and some clips may also be posted on other platforms. If you do not want your person or voice recorded, you can submit your questions via text chat.



Thinking Critically About the Earth’s Preservation


Led by Dr. Linda Elder

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Thursday, December 29th, 2022



8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Open to All!

 

It is essential that we do all we can, each of us, to make the world healthier and less endangered by human pollution (including artificial noise and light, solid garbage, industrial runoff, and greenhouse gases), wilderness encroachment with resulting habitat loss, and flagrant disregard for other species – including those on which our survival depends. A recent United Nations report warns that humans must act now if we are to avoid catastrophe.

We simply cannot afford to continue shortsightedly placing money before sustainability of the earth’s limited resources. The devastation humans have inflicted upon other sentient creatures, and upon ourselves, has been clear for many generations. But we humans are skilled at deceiving ourselves in all kinds of ways, including that our precious desires and whims are more important than the health of the earth, the health of our families, and the future of the planet. This is why critical thinking is so important – because it helps us see through our self-deception to the real facts before us.

But what can we do to help mitigate the problem? First, we need to put our support behind only those leaders and politicians committed to drastically reducing and reversing ecological destruction, and we need to hold them responsible to follow through on their promises. Second, we need to do all that is within our individual power to reduce our impact on the earth and to enrich nature. One way of doing this is to reconsider how we think of nature itself and our responsibilities toward it. When we are educated about nature, and about the relationships between humans, plants, and other animals, our values should change according to the new information we internalize. Consequently, we should then have a far better chance of dealing with the vast sustainability problems we face, having learned to value nature more highly as an asset to be protected and supported. All of this requires critical thinking.

In this webinar, Dr. Elder will discuss ways that critical thinking can improve our chances of a healthy, sustainable future on earth. Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar.

1. Read pages 5, 6, 8, 9, 17, and 18 in The Thinker’s Guide to Asking Essential Questions.

2. On pages 23 & 24 of A Glossary to Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry for egocentricity (also known as egocentrism).

3. On page 67 of A Glossary to Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry for sociocentricity (also known as sociocentrism).

4. Read about speciescentrism on pages 72-76 in Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies.

5. Consider these questions:

a. What reasons do people tend to give for flagrant disregard for the rights and needs of other sentient creatures?

b. Do any of these reasons serve as valid excuses for the behavior? Why or why not?

c. If you see any of these reasons as valid excuses for the behavior, do you believe your view would change if you were being treated in the same ways humans treat other sentient creatures when disregarding their rights and needs?

6. Considering your reading in assignments 1-3 above, write out some connections you see between egocentrism, sociocentrism, and speciescentrism. Consider whether any of these seem to emerge as byproducts of one or both of the others.

Please note that our webinars are recorded for later viewing by members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, and some clips may also be posted on other platforms. If you do not want your person or voice recorded, you can submit your questions via text chat.




Archived Webinar Q&A Sessions

How Sociocentricity, or Groupthink, Pervades Human Societies


Led by Dr. Linda Elder

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

Recording Available Soon!


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Living a human life entails membership in a variety of human groups. These groups typically include one’s nation, culture, profession, religion, family, and peer group. We begin participating in at least some of these groups before we are even aware of ourselves as living beings, and throughout life we find ourselves in groups in nearly every setting in which we function as persons.

Every group to which we belong has some social definition of itself, as well as some oft-unspoken “rules” that guide the behavior of its members. In other words, each group to which we belong imposes some level of conformity on us as a condition of acceptance. This includes sets of beliefs, sets of acceptable behaviors, and sets of taboos that entail consequences (social or otherwise) when broken.

For most people, conformity to group restrictions is largely automatic and unreflective. Most conform with minimal effort, without even recognizing they are doing so. They internalize group norms and beliefs, take on group identities, and act as they are expected to act with little or no sense that what they are doing might be reasonably questioned. They function within social groups as unreflective participants in a range of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are analogous – at least in the structures to which they conform – to those of urban street gangs. Conformity of thought and behavior is the rule in humans, with independence the rare exception. And for those who do push back against group norms, the penalties can be severe.

This webinar will focus on how sociocentric thinking reinforces itself among humans, how it stands as a barrier to the development of fairminded critical societies, and how we can recognize and intervene in our own sociocentric tendencies.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following optional activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities to join the webinar.

1. On page 67 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on sociocentricity.

2. Complete the activity, “Distinguish Between Reasonable and Unreasonable Ideas Within a Group.”

3. Watch the video, “Human Sociocentricity & Critical Thinking – Part 1.”

4. Watch the video, “Human Sociocentricity & Critical Thinking – Part 2.”

5. Complete the activity, “Identify the Impact of Group Influence.”


Open Critical Thinking Q&A: November 2022

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.


Teaching Students to Think Critically About and Within the Subject Matter of a Course or Class


Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Thursday, October 27th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

 

There are a number of connections we must make conceptually and pragmatically to successfully guide our students’ learning in our courses. Most school practices still cluster around or emerge from either a didactic conception of learning, or group-centered activities void of proper standards, both of which make the dominance of lower-order learning inevitable.

To get beyond this, students must learn to understand your subject matter as a mode of thinking that they will need to learn to think about and within, using critical thinking concepts and principles. For instance, substantial improvements can only occur by restructuring math classes so students learn to think mathematically, history classes so students learn to think historically, science classes so students learn to think scientifically, and so on. In other words, we must approach our disciplines not as bodies of content to be delivered and consumed, but constellations of concepts to be reasoned through and internalized. By so doing, we provide a toolkit of actionable knowledge that can continue elevating our students’ thinking and learning long after they have completed our courses.

This webinar will discuss practical approaches for kindling students’ reasoning faculties, enabling them to internalize (not just memorize) important ideas in your courses, and focusing the educational process upon learners’ engagement rather than the instructor’s “delivery” of content.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following optional activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities in order to join the webinar.

1. Read the article, “Distinguishing Between Inert Information, Activated Ignorance, and Activated Knowledge.”

2. Watch the video, “How to Teach Students to Seek the Logic of Things.”

3. After reading the content at the top of the page, complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” using the discipline or subject that you teach.

4. Review the entire transparency pack, “Content as Thinking.”

5. Read the article, “An Overview of How to Design Instruction Using Critical Thinking Concepts.”

6. Read this two-page document on teaching for depth of understanding and strategies that foster student engagement.


Defense Mechanisms as Barriers to Critical Thinking


Led by Dr. Linda Elder
, International Authority on Critical Thinking


Thursday, October 13th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

 

By nature, humans are highly compartmentalized thinkers. This results, at least in part, from two major factors: 1) humans are naturally inclined toward selfish and vested interests, and 2) at the same time, we feel a strong need to protect our egos and defend our social groups, and we are therefore highly resistant to acknowledging our own pathological reasoning and unethical behaviors.

When people have a selfish interest in not seeing the truth in a situation or context, or when people want more for their group than is their fair share, they can quite naturally employ any number of defense mechanisms such as rationalizing, projecting, or stereotyping to justify their actions; in this way, they can hide from themselves what they are actually thinking and doing (hence keeping knowledge which they know to be true in one domain of their thinking – their conscience – from another domain of thought in which they are selfish or groupish).

Through commitment to critical thinking concepts, principles, and dispositions, and through lifelong practice, we can learn to integrate critical thinking ideas and character traits across the areas of our lives. We can learn to recognize when we are tricking ourselves into ignoring the failures in our reasoning, and this leads to higher and higher degrees, over time, of intellectual integrity.

In this session, Dr. Linda Elder will discuss how defense mechanisms impair our reasoning, as well as practical ways in which we can identify and intervene in these mechanisms to prevent or minimize their harm (to ourselves and others).

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following optional activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities in order to join the webinar.

 1. On pages 23-24 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on egocentricity.

2. On page 67 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on sociocentricity.

3. On page 41 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on intellectual integrity.

4. Complete the activity, “Reconstructing Arguments in Good Faith.”

5. Think of a time when you failed to demonstrate intellectual integrity because you wanted to benefit yourself or other members of your social group. What negative effects did this have on you? What negative effects did it have on others?

6. Staying with the example you chose for assignment 5: if the situation were reversed, and its negative outcomes affected you or someone in your social group, how would this influence your view of the person who failed to demonstrate intellectual integrity? How might it have affected your behavior towards and around that person afterwards?


Using Critical Thinking in Relation to Issues of Emotional Health and Well-Being

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

To develop emotional intelligence is to achieve command of the workings of our minds, for it is our minds that generate our thoughts, feelings, and desires. It is our minds that give us influence over how we learn, make decisions, and conduct our lives. To develop as emotionally intelligent persons, we need to understand the relationship between thoughts and emotions. To be in command of one’s emotional life is to have control over the faculties of mind that guide it: thoughts, emotions, and desires working, as they do, in concert.

The emotions we bring to a situation (connected with the thinking that gives rise to these emotions) largely determine the level at which we function in that context. When we bring learned indifference, irrational fears, acquired hostility, and inflexible ideas into any circumstance, our ability to learn is limited to the superficial; our ability to see useful solutions is constrained; our decisions become increasingly likely to harm rather than help us and those around us.

This webinar provides concepts and approaches for helping us to improve the quality of our emotional experiences – in all parts of life – by commanding the thoughts and feelings which shape that quality. The theory to be explored will focus on the relationship between cognition and affect, and the importance of commanding one’s egocentric and sociocentric tendencies while working to cultivate emotional intelligence within oneself.

Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following optional activities as you can beforehand. These require an account in the Community Online, where a 30-day free trial is available for new users. You are not required to complete the activities in order to join the webinar.

1. Read pages 4-10 in The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind.

2. Complete the activity, "Understanding the Relationships Between Thinking, Feeling, and Emotions.”

3. Read pages 11-17 in The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind.

4. Think of a time in your life when egocentric and/or sociocentric thinking played a role in experiencing unnecessary, unproductive negative emotions. Answer the following questions:

a. How was your subsequent reasoning and decision-making impacted by these emotions?

b. Knowing what you know now, how might you direct your thinking differently in a similar situation today, in order to reduce or prevent similar negative emotions from occurring?


Share Your Stories, Frustrations and Victories in Advancing Critical Thinking

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Recording Not Available


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Exclusive to Members of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

For this webinar, we invite all of you in the community to come together to share your experiences with critical thinking. We will work both as a large group and in breakout rooms; we will share our stories, frustrations, and successes in fostering and advancing fairminded critical thinking in instruction and other professions, as well as in our personal lives. No homework is required for this session, other than to roughly sketch out in advance your experiences to share with us, with the hope that we will all learn and grow from one another through our discussions. Dr. Elder will offer feedback and answer your questions as they emerge throughout the webinar. If you are new to critical thinking and don’t think you have a story yet, please join us anyhow. All of our webinars are open to you, wherever you are in your development in learning and applying critical thinking. 


How to Develop Your Inner Voice of Reason

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

International Authority on Critical Thinking


Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Most people are trapped in their beliefs. They use ideas in their thinking that they are unaware of and have never examined for quality. They have developed a world view which influences much of their behavior, but of which they have little or no understanding. They are using assumptions accumulated throughout their lives, which lead to their inferences and conclusions, but which they themselves have little or no awareness of. They are trapped in egocentric narrow-mindedness and sociocentric vested interests.

In short, the mind can be imprisoned in unexamined beliefs, concepts, assumptions, and world views, or it can be freed through intellectual self-discipline and cultivation. This webinar will focus on practical ways that we, over time, can become more reasonable thinkers. It will explore ways of advancing our abilities to apply intellectual standards to the elements of our thinking, in the pursuit of developing intellectual virtues, whilst working to overcome our own sociocentric and egocentric thinking.


Because this webinar Q&A partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can beforehand:

  

1. Read page 9, page 12, and page 14 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue” after reading the text at the top of the page. Try to choose a problem or issue that you know you have been unreasonable about in the past.

3. Read pages 19-20 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

4. Complete this activity on fairness, after reading the text at the top of the page.

5. Read the article, “Valuable Intellectual Traits.”

6. Complete the activity, “Reconstructing Arguments in Good Faith.”

7. Review again the diagram on page 12 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools. In light of your work to this point, what insights have you developed into this diagram that you lacked upon first seeing it?

8. On pages 23-24 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on egocentricity.

9. On page 67 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on sociocentricity.


Intellectual Traits of Mind

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, August 4, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Critical thinking does not entail merely intellectual skills. It is a way of orienting oneself in the world. It is a way of approaching problems that differs significantly from that which is typical in human life. People may have critical thinking skills and abilities, and yet still be unable to:


• enter viewpoints with which they disagree,
• analyze the beliefs that guide their behavior,
• distinguish between what they know and what they don’t,
• persevere through difficult problems and issues,
• think fairmindedly,
• stand alone against the crowd, or
• do countless other things that require more than an inventory of skills.

Thus, in developing as a thinker, it is important to develop intellectual traits (also known as intellectual virtues or dispositions) – traits such as fairmindedness, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason.

These traits of mind are essential to learning any subject and excelling in any field. Students and professionals alike cannot think well through lessons, tasks, and projects without acknowledging what they don’t know or having the intellectual courage to question how things have been done traditionally. In all fields, we need to engage through intellectual empathy with other thinkers and envision new ideas; we also need to develop the intellectual autonomy and intellectual perseverance to work through deep and challenging issues without easily giving up or gravitating to group-think. We need to develop fairmindedness in order to appreciate new theories and alternative viewpoints; we need to cultivate within ourselves the confidence that we can, with work, come to understand ourselves and the world in a deeper way.

Intellectual traits go beyond having or exercising a given set of skills. They define a person's intellectual character, and that character influences not only the thinker and his or her social circle, but also the society in which the thinker lives. The success or failure of any society or organization will largely depend upon the degree to which persons embody intellectual traits of mind.

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Nosich will discuss the centrality of intellectual traits, and will explore practical ways of developing them in the classroom as well as in daily life. Because the session partially depends upon your questions as participants, we recommend completing as many of the following activities as you can before the webinar:

1. Review page 12 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Read page 14 and pages 19 & 20 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

3. Read the article, “Valuable Intellectual Traits.”

4. Watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of “Intellectual Virtues by Dr. Linda Elder.”

5. Complete the activity, “Articulate Your Own Definitions of Intellectual Virtues.” (You will see it after scrolling down below the first activity on the page.) If you find yourself having trouble, review the reading and/or viewing assignments above as needed.


Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: July 2022

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


Recording Not Available


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.

Please note that our webinars are recorded for later viewing by members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online. If you do not want your person or voice recorded, you can submit your questions via text chat.


What Critical Thinking Can Do for Human Societies

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, June 30, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

A critical society is a community of people who value critical thinking and those who practice it. It is a society continually improving. Its most distinguishing characteristic is its emphasis on thinking as the key to the emancipation of the mind, to the creation of just practices, and to the preservation and development of the species.

Unfortunately, there are no critical societies in the world. There is no culture on earth where critical thought is characteristic of everyday personal and social life. On the contrary, the world is filled with superficiality, prejudice, bias, distortions, lies, deception, manipulation, short sightedness, closed-mindedness, righteousness, hypocrisy, and so on in every culture and country. These problems in thinking lead to untold negative implications: fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pain, suffering, and injustices of every imaginable kind.

Yet humans have great capacity for rationality and reasonability. The history of human accomplishments, achievements, and contributions well documents this fact. But for the most part this capacity must be developed, actively, by the mind. It is our second, not our first, nature.

In this session, Dr. Linda Elder will explore with you the concept of fairminded critical societies and discuss how critical thinking can help us resolve problems of all scales found throughout human civilization, up to and including extinction-level threats. If you are already a member of The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, we highly recommend completing as many of the following assignments as possible beforehand. (To join the Community Online, click here.)
 

1. Read page 45 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Read pages 9, 12, 14, and 19-20 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

3. Read the introductory text, template, and example at the top of the activity page for Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue. Then, complete the activity using a large-scale problem (e.g. systemic injustice, climate change, the risk of nuclear conflict, declining biodiversity, etc.)

4. Read the article, “Critical Societies: Thoughts from the Past.”


Teaching Students to Use Critical Thinking in Advanced Classes

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

No Recording Available


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Whether K-12 students in traditional gifted programs or college graduates earning master’s degrees or doctorates, learners in advanced classes are not exempt from innate human barriers to critical thinking. In fact, such students often come to us with extensively-developed studying techniques which they believe have aided their academic achievements, but which nevertheless minimize the role of critical thinking – or even violate its concepts and principles. These students can be wary of moving beyond habits that seem to have served them well; sensitivity to such hesitation is an important asset to helping advanced students develop as thinkers.

Moreover, some students in advanced classes are accustomed to finding coursework “easy,” and have heard for years that they are intellectually exceptional. It is important to create an environment where such learners feel safe in recognizing the current limitations of their reasoning skills, in making mistakes, and in growing together through processes that can otherwise feel discouraging or embarrassing. It is also essential to help students in advanced courses deal with native intellectual arrogance that may impede their development as learners, no matter how accomplished they may be, or may seem to be.

In this webinar Q&A session, Dr. Nosich will discuss useful approaches to incorporating critical thinking in advanced classes, and will answer your questions surrounding this topic. Because a significant portion of the meeting relies on your questions as participants, we highly recommend completing as many of the following assignments as possible beforehand:

1. Read page 12 and page 14 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue” (be sure to read the introductory text at the top of the page first).  For the prompt, please focus on either a) a recurring challenge you’ve noticed that is seemingly specific to teaching advanced students, or b) one such difficulty among those described in the webinar description above.

3. On pages 23 and 24 of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry for egocentricity (also known as egocentrism). Then, on page 67 of the same guide, read the entry for sociocentricity (also known as sociocentrism).

4. On pages 24 and 25 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools, read the descriptions of the intellectual traits and the relevant sample questions in each. Also notice the intellectual vices listed therein, such as intellectual arrogance and intellectual narrow-mindedness.

5. Given your reading to this point, consider how you might introduce this information to your students as a non-threatening way of helping them see their own innate barriers to critical thinking – and how these barriers are not unique to them, but shared by their classmates and instructors.

If you find it difficult to establish a starting place, begin by considering how the questions from activity #4 above might be used in, or adapted to, your classes.


Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: June 2022

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, June 2, 2022


Recordings Not Available for Open Q&A's


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are new to our subscription community, a 30-day free trial is available. 


Why the Concept of Critical Thinking is in Danger and Why It Needs to Be Established as an Independent Academic Field of Study

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

It is essential for a valid field of critical thinking studies to emerge if we are to properly advance a robust conception of critical thinking that can be actively employed across cultures, persons, subjects, disciplines, and professions. However, many substantial and pervasive variables work against this development to expect its realization in the present or near future.

To put this problem another way, the development of a field of critical thinking studies and the further cultivation of rich critical-thinking theory are severely hampered by a number of complex variables and influences. Though there are indeed many such variables, this session will focus on four primary barriers:

1. the perspective and worldview through which philosophers tend to view and treat critical thinking as a conceptual construct, and how this leads to an insufficient conception of critical thinking that fails to address many common problems inherent in human thought and action;

2. the fact that most teachers and faculty, at all levels of education, tend to see themselves as fostering critical thinking in their courses when little evidence supports this notion;

3. the fact that even educators dedicated to learning a substantial conception of critical thinking tend to have great difficulty internalizing it, given its inherent complexities, and given that we are rarely taught the requisite intellectual skills for comprehending intricacies within a rich theory of mind and of critical reasoning; and

4. the fact that freedom of thought and the cultivation of the liberally-educated mind, both of which are intimately connected with a rich conception of critical thinking, tend to be little discussed or valued in human cultures or educational systems today.

A significant portion of this discussion will depend upon your questions as participants. To prepare, we strongly recommend completing as many of the following assignments as possible before the webinar:

1. Read the article, "Richard Paul's Contributions to the Field of Critical Thinking Studies and to the Establishment of First Principles in Critical Thinking."

2. Read the article, "Reflections on the Nature of Critical Thinking, Its History, Politics, and Barriers, and on Its Status across the College & University Curriculum - Part I."

3. Read the article, "Reflections on the Nature of Critical Thinking, Its History, Politics, and Barriers, and on Its Status across the College & University Curriculum - Part II."


Reasoning from Within Different Points of View

Led by Dr. Brian Barnes

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Each of us naturally thinks from our own point of view, i.e., from a perspective that tends to privilege our own position, needs, and desires.  Realizing this, skilled reasoners keep in mind that different people have different points of view (especially on controversial issues), consistently articulate other points of view and reason from within them to adequately understand them, seek other points of view (especially when the issue is one they believe in passionately), confine their monological reasoning to problems that are clearly monological, recognize when they are most likely to be prejudiced, and approach problems and issues with a richness of vision and an appropriately broad perspective.

The failure to consider all relevant viewpoints often results in harm – not only to others, but to oneself. The social, economic, legal, and other consequences of disregarding others’ points of view can be severe. But how can we determine which points of view are relevant in a given context? How do we consider those viewpoints in good faith? When considering a question or problem, how do we know when we’ve reasoned “enough” within other relevant points of view?

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Brian Barnes will explore these questions on point of view, as well as those raised by attendees. Because this session relies heavily on your questions, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. We recommend completing as many of the following exercises as you can before the session:

1. On pages 55-56 of A Glossary to Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry for “point of view.”

2. Watch this video of Dr. Richard Paul, in which he provides a brief overview of the elements of reasoning. Note in particular the questions he raises about point of view.

3. On page 9 of the Thinker’s Guide to Intellectual Standards, read the entry for “breadth.”

4. Complete the activity, “Thinking Broadly About an Issue.” If you find the prompt difficult to work with fairmindedly, choose another issue, but preferably one surrounded by some degree of controversy.

5. In your own words, describe the relationship between point of view and breadth.


Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: April 2022

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.


How to Defeat Your Self-Defeating Habits of Thought

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Open to Everyone!

 

We do not begin our respective critical thinking journeys as blank slates. We begin with already-established views of the world, of our minds, and of what constitutes reasonability. These views have unfortunately emerged from a largely impoverished world culture that tends not to highlight problems in thinking, nor to offer substantive approaches to those problems. Most people have little sense that within each of us are significant self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, and that many of these attitudes and behaviors are habitual. We therefore tend to have limited understanding of how these bad habits of thought affect our learning, and therefore our abilities to live, work, and teach rationally.

For these reasons, it is important to deeply explore and probe the habits of mind that impede our functionality. For instance, it is important to see that all people tend towards intellectual arrogance, and that this tendency gets in the way of our learning, teaching, and living. It is important to see that all people frequently fail to persevere through difficulties when learning complex ideas or solving complex problems – and that this tendency can have drastic implications for not only our lives and work and individuals, but for the wellbeing of society and earth at large. It is important, in short, to understand the general (often subconscious) problems in thinking experienced by all humans that lead to self-defeating attitudes and behaviors. We can then use these understandings to uncover our own particular dysfunctional patterns of thought.

This Webinar Q&A will focus on understanding the bad habits of thought common to all humans, so participants can begin to see how their own habitual attitudes and behaviors serve as formidable barriers to self-development and self-realization. You should familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time; please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the webinar as you can:
 

1. In The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking, read pages 24 and 25. Then review page 12 to see how our use of intellectual standards forms our intellectual habits (traits) of mind.

Note that while the page-12 diagram lists desirable intellectual standards and traits, there are also undesirable standards and traits; as such, the way we use (or don’t use) intellectual standards can lead to either intellectual virtues or vices.

2. On page 2 of the article “Valuable Intellectual Traits," read the brief section on fairmindedness. This is an important trait not detailed in the reading from assignment #1 above.

3. Complete the activity, “Distinguish Intellectual Humility from Intellectual Arrogance.” (Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.)

When completing this activity, use examples from your own thinking, rather than hypothetical thinking or thinking by other people.

4. Complete the activity, “When Have You Been Intellectually Autonomous? When Have You Lacked Intellectual Autonomy?” (Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.)

5.Read the short article, “Natural Egocentric Dispositions.”
 
6. On pages 11 and 12 of Liberating the Mind, read the section on “Primary Forms of Sociocentric Thought.”

7. Review your responses in the activities you completed in assignments #3 and #4 above. In light of your reading on egocentrism and sociocentrism, is there any way you would amend or elaborate on your answers?


Using the Standards of Critical Thinking in Your Life, and Teaching Students to Use Them

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Recording Not Available


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Open to the General Public!

 

Effectively assessing reasoning is essential to critical thinking. While everyone at least sometimes uses appropriate standards for assessing thinking (such as clarity, accuracy, precision, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance, fairness, and sufficiency), often without consciously realizing it, do they adhere to the most relevant and important intellectual standards in every context? And how often do they fail to use any appropriate standards at all? For example, have you ever failed to think through the complexities of a problem before making a decision? Are you living your life in a way that is most significant to you, or are you being ensnared by a superficial lifestyle? When you make decisions, do you consider all the relevant and significant information needed to make those decisions? How frequently do your belief systems or ideologies impede your ability to adhere to intellectual standards? If you teach, to what degree do you explicitly foster command of intellectual standards, so that your students learn to think through content in your classes via appropriate application of standards to the elements of reasoning?

Insufficient adherence to intellectual standards will frequently lead to poor decisions, and hence a poor quality of life. It can also create enormous impediments to both teaching and learning. This Webinar Q&A focuses on how intellectual standards can be integrated into daily life, and for those who teach, it will discuss ways that they can be incorporated into your courses.

Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the webinar as you can:
 

1. Review the diagram on page 12 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools to see how intellectual standards fit into a larger framework for critical thinking.

2. In A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms & Concepts, read the entry on intellectual standards on page 42.

3. Read the short article, “Universal Intellectual Standards.”

4. Complete the activity, “Convert Unclear Thoughts to Clear Thoughts.” (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

5. Complete the activity, “Target Significance in Thinking.” (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

6. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1.”

7. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 2.”


Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: March 2022

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, March 10th, 2022


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.


Why Critical Thinking Is Not a List of Skills

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, February 24th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Some attempts to describe critical thinking mischaracterize it as simply a list of skills to be practiced. While intellectual skills are an important aspect of critical thinking, they do not represent the whole. Critical thinking is a constellation of concepts, principles, and habits which cannot be reduced to a mere inventory of abilities.

Fairminded critical reasoners cultivate not only intellectual skills but also intellectual dispositions. These attributes are essential to excellence of thought. They determine with what insight and integrity you think. For example, as we develop the basic intellectual skills that critical thinking entails, we can begin to use those skills in a selfish or in a fairminded way. We can develop in such a way that we learn to see mistakes in our own thinking, as well as that of others, or we can merely develop some proficiency in making our opponents’ thinking look bad. The latter approach is known as weak-sense critical thinking, which can have serious consequences not only for others, but for weak-sense critical thinkers themselves.

This Webinar Q&A focuses on understanding critical thinking not as a skillset, but as an integrated, comprehensive framework for better learning, teaching, working, and living – indeed, for improved reasoning and action in all aspects of human life. Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the webinar as you can:

1. Read pages 12-21 in the partial copy of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools found in the Community Online.

2. Complete the activity, “Articulate Your Own Definitions of Intellectual Virtues.” You will find it by scrolling roughly halfway down the page.

3. Read the article, "Valuable Intellectual Traits." (Keep in mind that "valuable intellectual traits" is used in this context as a synonym for "intellectual virtues.")

4. Watch the video, “Intellectual Virtues by Dr. Linda Elder - Part 3 of 3.”

5. Return to the activity, “Articulate Your Own Definitions of Intellectual Virtues.” In light of the reading and viewing in assignments 3 and 4, try refining and elaborating upon the definitions you articulated earlier in assignment 2.


Using the Elements of Reasoning in Any Class

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, February 10th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

The elements or parts of reasoning are those essential dimensions of human thought that are present whenever and wherever reasoning occurs —independent of whether we are reasoning well or poorly. Working together, these elements shape our reasoning and provide a general logic to the use of thought. They are presupposed in every subject, discipline, and domain of human thought.

There is a predictable set of relationships that hold for all subjects and disciplines, since every subject has been developed by those who had:

  • shared purposes and objectives (which defined the subject focus),
  • shared questions and problems (whose solutions they pursued),
  • shared information and data (which they used as an empirical basis),
  • shared modes of interpreting or judging that information,
  • shared specialized concepts and ideas (which they used to help them organize their data),
  • shared key assumptions (that gave them a basis from which to collectively begin), and
  • a shared point-of-view (which enabled them to pursue common goals from a common framework).

Each of the elements represents a dimension that can be identified, explored, and questioned within the context of any academic discipline or subject. We can inquire as to goals and purposes. We can probe into the nature of questions, problems, or issues at hand. We can ask whether or not we have relevant data and information. We can consider alternative interpretations of the data and information. We can analyze key concepts and ideas. We can evaluate assumptions being made. We can ask students to trace out the implications and consequences of a line of thinking. We can consider alternative points of view.

This Webinar Q&A focuses on practical ways that the elements of reasoning can be explicitly used to strengthen students’ grasp of a discipline or subject area, and Dr. Gerald Nosich will answer your questions on the topic. Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the webinar as you can:
 

1. Read the article, “The Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards.”

2. Complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” for your own discipline or subject area. (Be sure to review the preceding text and diagram first.)

3. Watch the video, “Critical Thinking and the Basic Elements of Thought.”

4. Identify any important concept within your discipline or subject area. Using this idea, complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Concept or Idea.”


Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: January 2022

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our regular (roughly monthly) question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions.


Thinking Critically and Creatively About Your Unique Abilities to Reach Your Potential

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Free to Everyone
(No Community Online Account Required)

 

Gaining command of your life requires, first and foremost, gaining command of the thinking that commands your life. Using explicit concepts in critical thinking helps you gain control of your reasoning, emotions, and desires, and realize all of which you are capable as a unique person.

When it comes to reaching your potential, we cannot overstate the importance of 1) learning the explicit tools of critical thinking, 2) using them to understand the complex and rapidly-changing world we live in, 3) looking to the best thinking that has been done throughout history for insight into effective and reasonable living, and 4) forging the best path forward for self-fulfillment and achievement at the highest level of which you are capable.

Dr. Linda Elder will briefly discuss the primary points above and then answer your questions on the topic. If you are a member of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, to better prepare for the webinar, please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the webinar as you can:

1. Read through page 13 of the partial copy of The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind found in the Community Online.

2. Read pages 12, 14-20, and 24-25, in the partial copy of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools found in the Community Online.

3. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue,” focusing on a challenge you are currently facing that you perceive as impeding your ability to self-actualize. Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.

4. Complete the activity, “Target Significance in Thinking.” Be sure to read the text at the top of the page first.

5. Watch the Intellectual Virtues video series:


Webinar Q&A Archives from Previous Years