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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 many are exclusive to members of the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online.

Typically, our webinar announcements provide activities for you to complete ahead of time in the Community Online. These will be relevant to the topic at hand. Then, at the actual webinar, you are given the opportunity to ask questions of our Fellows or Scholars about the new understandings you've gained by completing the activities.

Remember: for many of these webinar Q&A sessions, you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Upcoming Webinar Q&A Sessions

Regular Open Critical Thinking Q&A: June 2022

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, June 2, 2022




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. 




Archived Webinar Q&A Sessions

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