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Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind: Thinking, Feeling, Wanting, and the Problem of Irrationality

Fourth Edition

Linda Elder and Richard Paul

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Since all human thoughts are controlled by the mind, understanding our thoughts is essential to personal and societal advancement. The Thinker’s Guide to the Human Mind delves into the core functions of the human mind to allow readers to take charge of their intellect and emotions more effectively. 

Richard Paul and Linda Elder explore the basic impulses that influence our thoughts and can distract us from logical or ethical action. Exploring the dangers of egocentric and sociocentric thinking, this guide presents strategies for strengthening emotional intelligence and developing critical thinking virtues. 

As part of the Thinker’s Guide Library, this book advances the mission of the Foundation for Critical Thinking to promote fairminded critical societies through cultivating essential intellectual abilities and virtues across every field of study across world.

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / The Foundation for Critical Thinking
Pages: 42 • Trim: 5 1/2 x 8
978-0-944583-58-6 • Paperback • January 2015
978-1-5381-3388-0 • eBook • June 2019
Series: Thinker's Guide Library


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Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind: Thinking, Feeling, Wanting, and the Problem of Irrationality

Additional Information About:
Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind: Thinking, Feeling, Wanting, and the Problem of Irrationality

Why a Mini- Guide on The Human Mind? 

To live as a reasonable and ethical person is to live well. Yet humans are not by nature rational or ethical. Humans are predisposed to operate in the world in narrow terms of how it can serve them. Their brains are directly wired into their own pleasure and pain, not that of others. They do not inherently consider the rights and needs of others.

Humans have the raw capacity to become reasonable and ethical persons, to develop as fair-minded skilled thinkers. But to do so requires:
1. Understanding how the mind works.
2. Using this understanding to develop skills and insights.

This guide addresses the first of these requirements. It lays the conceptual foundations necessary for understanding the mind, its functions, its natural propensity toward irrationality, and its capacity for rationality.

It is designed for those interested in developing their potential to be fair-minded reasonable persons, concerned with how their behavior affects the lives of others, concerned to develop their full humanity, concerned with making the world a more civilized and just place. It is designed for those willing to transform their thinking to improve their decisions, the quality of their lives, the quality of their interpersonal relationships, and their vision of the world. It is intended to provide an initial map to help interested persons begin the process of freeing themselves from the traps their minds have constructed.

Contents include: 

  • Understanding the Human Mind: The Big Picture
  • The Dynamic Relationship Between Thinking, Feeling, Wanting
  • Behavior: A Product of the Mind’s Functions
  • Thinking as the Key to Feelings and Desires
  • Rational Capacities or Egocentric Tendencies Control the Mind
  • The Problem of Egocentric Thinking
  • Distinguish Egocentric from Rational Motives
  • Feelings that Accompany Egocentrism
  • The Logic of Egocentrism
  • The Logic of Rationality
  • Pathological Dispositions of the Human Mind
  • Defense Mechanisms of the Mind
  • Popular Misunderstandings of the Mind
  • Emotional Intelligence and Critical Thinking