globe Characteristics of Critical Thinkers
Information Literacy w/ Colby Glass

(from Vincent Ruggiero, Beyond Feelings, A Guide to Critical Thinking):

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Are honest with themselves, acknowledging what they don't know, recognizing their limitations, and being watchful of their own errors." "Pretend they know more than they do, ignore their limitations, and assume their views are error-free."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Regard problems and controversial issues as exciting challenges." "Regard problems and controversial issues as nuisances or threats to their ego."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Strive for understanding, keep curiosity alive, remain patient with complexity and ready to invest time to overcome confusion." "Are impatient with complexity and thus would rather remain confused than make the effort to understand."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Set aside personal preferences and base judgments on evidence, deferring judgment whenever evidence is insufficient. They revise judgments when new evidence reveals error." "Base judgments on first impressions and gut reactions. They are unconcerned about the amount or quality of evidence and cling to earlier views steadfastly."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Are interested in other people's ideas, so are willing to read and listen attentively, even when they tend to disagree with the other person." "Are preoccupied with self and their own opinions, and so are unwilling to pay attention to others' views. At the first sign of disagreement they tend to think, "How can I refute this?"."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Recognize that extreme views (whether conservative or liberal) are seldom correct, so they avoid them, practice fair-mindedness, and seek a balanced view." "Ignore the need for balance and give preference to views that support their established views."

Critical Thinkers...
UNcritical Thinkers...
"Practice restraint, controlling their feelings rather than being controlled by them, and thinking before acting." "Tend to follow their feelings and act impulsively."


"If a man's actions are not guided by thoughtful
conclusions, then they are guided by inconsiderate
impulse, unbalanced appetite, caprice, or the
circumstances of the moment. To cultivate unhindered,
unreflective external activity is to foster
enslavement for it leaves the person at the mercy of
appetite, sense, and circumstance."

---John Dewey

from Critical Thinking, by Richard Paul:

"Critical thinking.. involves overcoming not only intellectual barriers.. but psychological barriers as well" (Paul, ii)... "Given.. our inherent tendencies toward self-deception, and our tenacious grip on unconsciously absorbed beliefs.. [we must] prepare ourselves for a lifetime of diligent and rigorous intellectual work" (Paul, v).

"The deepest intellectual roots are ancient, traceable to the teaching practice and vision of Socrates 2,400 years ago who discovered by a method of probing questioning that people could not rationally justify their confident claims to knowledge. Confused meanings, inadequate evidence, or self-contradictory beliefs often lurked beneath smooth but largely empty rhetoric" (Paul, 39).


Next, let's look at a checklist for critical thinking about an issue.



by Colby Glass, MLIS.

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