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Its definition is contested, but the competing definitions can be understood as differing conceptions of the same basic concept: careful thinking directed to a goal.
Unique in perspective, this book provides a general approach to critical thinking skills that can be applied to all disciplines.
With an emphasis on writing, as well as on deciding what to believe or do, it offers extended discussions, examples, and practice of such skills as observing, making judgments, planning experiments, and developing ideas and alternatives.
Before considering the definition of critical thinking, it will be helpful to have in mind some examples of critical thinking, as well as some examples of kinds of thinking that would apparently not count as critical thinking.
Dewey (1910: 68–71; 1933: 91–94) takes as paradigms of reflective thinking three class papers of students in which they describe their thinking.
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Since 1980, an annual international conference in California on critical thinking and educational reform has attracted tens of thousands of educators from all levels of education and from many parts of the world.
Also since 1980, the state university system in California has required all undergraduate students to take a critical thinking course.
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Critical thinking is a widely accepted educational goal.