A Meta-Level Approach to the Problem of Defining ‘Critical Thinking’

Argumentation 29 (4):417-430 (2015)
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Abstract

The problem of defining ‘critical thinking’ needs a fresh approach. When one takes into consideration the sheer quantity of definitions and their obvious differences, an onlooker might be tempted to conclude that there is no inherent meaning to the term: that each author seems to consider that he or she is free to offer a definition that suits them. And, with a few exceptions, there has not been much discussion among proposers about the strength and weaknesses of the attempted definitions. Therefore, the approach we will argue for here is a ‘meta-level approach’: proposers of new definitions of ‘critical thinking’ should begin by arguing that none of the current crop of definitions is viable. They should then state what kind of definition they will offer; then provide the definition and show that it satisfies the criteria stated. Our position is that new definitions should follow this meta-level approach, in addition to avoiding some common pitfalls

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Benjamin Hamby
Coastal Carolina University

References found in this work

A practical study of argument.Trudy Govier - 1991 - Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co..
Culture and value.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1977 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by G. H. von Wright & Heikki Nyman.
A plea for excuses.John Austin - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:1--30.

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