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For details on this history, see the Supplement on History.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.
Bloom’s influential taxonomy of cognitive educational objectives (Bloom et al. Ennis (1962) proposed 12 aspects of critical thinking as a basis for research on the teaching and evaluation of critical thinking ability.
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.
“In support of this conclusion, I discovered that the pole was lower than the pilot house, so that the steersman could easily see it.
Moreover, the tip was enough higher than the base, so that, from the pilot's position, it must appear to project far out in front of the boat.
“Critical thinkers” have the dispositions and abilities that lead them to think critically when appropriate.
The abilities can be identified directly; the dispositions indirectly, by considering what factors contribute to or impede exercise of the abilities.
In 1987, the APA’s Committee on Pre-College Philosophy commissioned a consensus statement on critical thinking for purposes of educational assessment and instruction (Facione 1990a).
Researchers have developed standardized tests of critical thinking abilities and dispositions; for details, see the Supplement on Assessment.
Dewey (1910: 68–71; 1933: 91–94) takes as paradigms of reflective thinking three class papers of students in which they describe their thinking.
The examples range from the everyday to the scientific.