Critical Thinking Importance, Definition & Benefits

Image of spinning blue gears representing critical thinking

What is the Meaning of Critical Thinking?

“We understand critical thinking to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based.

Critical Thinking Benefits

“Critical thinking is essential as a tool of inquiry.

“As such, critical thinking is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one’s personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, critical thinking is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon.

What Defines a Good Critical Thinker

“The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.

Critical thinking definition from the APA Delphi Consensus Definition

Critical Thinking Skills can be Enhanced

“Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal.

“It combines developing critical thinking skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society.”

Executive Summary, The Delphi Report, American Philosophical Association PDF, Dr. Peter A Facione, 1990

Bio of Dr. Peter A. Facione

Facione was the Executive Director of “The Delphi Report,” a consensus understanding of critical thinking undertaken by the APA. Since then, he had been a leader in critical thinking development and assessment as the founder and senior researcher at Insight Assessment. He is also a principal at Measured Reasons LLC, a Los Angeles based research and consulting firm.


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