Think Critically

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-03
  • Publisher: Pearson
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THINK Critically is acutting-edge self-reflective guidefor improving critical thinking skills through careful analysis, reasoned inference and thoughtful evaluation of contemporary culture and ideas. Taking cues from everyday life --education, business, health sciences, social work, law, government policy issues and current events-- THINK Criticallybridges the principles of critical thinking with real-world application. With ahighly-visual design,accessible narrative, and interactive approach, THINK Critically strengthens studentsrs" skills and motivation to make reasoned judgments. This text introduces critical thinking by showcasing what vital and central positive habits of mindare,revisitingandbuilding upon those skillsthroughout the text. Jam-packedwithengaging examplesandmasterful exercises, THINK Critically explains how to clarify ideas, analyze arguments, and evaluate inductive, deductive, comparative, ideological and empirical reasoning.

Author Biography

In This Section:


I. Author Bio

II. Author Letter



I. Author Bio


Peter Facione, PhD, wants to help everyone build up their critical thinking skills, for their own sakes, and for the sake of our freedom and democracy. Facione draws on decades of experience as a teacher, consultant, business entrepreneur, university dean, grandfather, husband, and avid “old school” pickup basketball player. Now he is taking his message about the importance of critical thinking directly to students. For improving reasoning skills for use in one’s personal, professional, and civic life, there may never before have been a more practical, enjoyable, important, comprehensive, and engaging text than this.


“I’ve paid very close attention to the way people make decisions since I was 13 years old,” says Facione. “Some people were good at solving problems and making decisions; others were not. I have always felt driven to figure out how to tell which were which.” He says that this led him as an undergraduate and later as a professor to study psychology, philosophy, logic, statistics, and information systems as he searched for how our beliefs, values, thinking skills, and habits of mind connect with the decisions we make, particularly in contexts of risk and uncertainty.


“As a teacher and as a college administrator, I focused on problem-solving and decision-making strategies so that I could be a more effective teacher and a more capable leader. I found it was always valuable when working with groups or individuals to be mindful of how they applied their cognitive skills and habits of mind to solve a problem, make a decision, or troubleshoot a situation. Careful analysis and open-minded truth seeking always worked better than any other way of approaching problems.” 


A native Midwesterner, Facione earned his PhD in philosophy from Michigan State University and his BA in philosophy from Sacred Heart College in Detroit. He says, “Critical thinking has helped me be a better parent, citizen, manager, teacher, writer, and friend. It even helps a little when playing point guard!”


In academia, Facione served as provost of Loyola University—Chicago, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University, and dean of the School of Human Development and Community Service at California State University—Fullerton. “As a dean and provost, I could easily see that critical thinking was alive and well in every professional field and academic discipline.”


“I’ve focused my research on the teaching and measurement of critical thinking since my earliest years as a faculty member in the 1960s and 1970s. But before you can measure something that crosses into every aspect of life, you have to be sure that you understand what it is. So in the 1980s, I first had to see whether there was a consensus among experts about the term critical thinking. After two years of research, a solid consensus emerged. That plus all the stats and behavioral science research I had studied and taught for years enabled me and my research team, during the 1990s, to design and validate tools to assess critical thinking skills and habits of mind. In the first decade of this century, our team has explored the connections between critical thinking and human decision making in its broadest sense.”


In fact, Facione spearheaded the international study to define critical thinking, sponsored by the American Philosophical Association. His research formed the basis for numerous government policy studies about critical thinking in the workplace, including research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Today, his tools for assessing reasoning are used around the world in educational, business, legal, military, and health sciences. 


Today, Peter operates his own business, Measured Reasons. He is a speaker, writer, workshop presenter, and consultant for organizations large and small. His work focuses on strategic planning and leadership decision making, in addition to teaching and assessing critical thinking. With his wife, who is also his closest research colleague and coauthor of many books and assessment tools, he now lives in sunny Los Angeles, which suits him just fine. He welcomes questions from students and instructors–you can reach him at pfacione@measuredreasons.com.



II. Author Letter


Dear Colleague,


Please forgive this intrusion, but I wanted to offer you some personal thoughts about why this book Think Critically , is for me, rather special.


Think Critically incorporates lessons learned over a 40+ year career devoted to teaching, measuring, researching and advocating for greater attention to critical thinking.  As you may know, in addition to my own work with college students, I’ve authored critical thinking tests, written widely used essays about critical thinking, and presented hundreds of workshops and presentations to community college, four-year college, and university faculty on teaching for and about critical thinking.  Why all this effort and attention devoted to critical thinking? Because in my view there may be no more valuable thing that one can gain through a college education than learning to solve problems effectively and to make well informed and well reasoned decisions. And for this we need strong critical thinking skills and positive critical thinking habits of mind.


When Pearson Education invited me to write Think Critically, it was a joy, an honor, and, I soon realized, an awesome responsibility. The book had to be accessible to students from a very wide variety of educational and social backgrounds, and, at the same time it had pass muster with faculty from many different disciplines.  The book had to be practical and enjoyable, and yet based on solid conceptual foundations and proven pedagogical principles.  The book had to address the topics that faculty from the widest possible spectrum of academic divisions would expect to find and do so in a way that was intellectually in harmony with the other courses those faculty might teach.  And, above all, the book had to work!  If using Think Critically did not lead to measurable gains in students' critical thinking, then the effort would have been for naught. 


At this point the reviews are in from faculty around the country.  The demands were met.  The book works.  Students do improve in their critical thinking skills and, equally importantly, in their critical thinking habits of mind.  Instructors from a host of different academic departments enjoy teaching with Think Critically. There are extra exercises, sample test questions, and many other learning support materials for students at the free online URL www.TheThinkSpot.com  that have been contributed by several faculty from around the country.  The Instructor’s Manual, written by Dr. Carol Gittens, offers teaching tips for every part of the book, creative alternative exercise ideas for every class session, and it includes a special section for faculty who may never before have offered a critical thinking course. 


How lucky we are, who teach for thinking, to have such an important part to play in our students' education! There can perhaps be no more valuable gift to our students than that we guide their development of stronger critical thinking skills and deeper positive critical thinking habits of mind.  Truth-seeking, open-mindedness, judiciousness, intellectual integrity and inquisitiveness are habits for life, not just for their brief sojourns in college.  The core critical thinking skills are the tools these habits impel them to use in order to make well-reasoned, reflective judgments whenever and wherever deciding what to believe or what to do.  How could I hope for more than that our mutual efforts, yours as their professor and mentor, mine as the author of the text book, should bring about such wonderful and valuable learning?  


Please know that even if you decide to use some other textbook, we still share this common purpose - we teach for critical thinking.  And if, as I hope, you select Think Critically, then please also know that I am only an email away (pfacione@measuredreasons.com).  I would love to hear your comments about how the book is working for your students, suggestions you or they might have for improvements, or simply reactions to any of the over one hundred sets of exercises it contains.


Seriously, write me any time about critical thinking - questions, concerns, whatever. This work we do is important.


Pete Facione


Measured Reasons

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Purposeful, Reflective Judgment  


 Risk and Uncertainty Abound  

 Critical Thinking and a Free Society  

 The One and the Many  

 What Do We Mean by “Critical Thinking”?  

 Expert Consensus Conceptualization  

 “Critical Thinking” Does Not Mean “Negative Thinking”  

 How to Get the Most Out of This Book  

 Evaluating Critical Thinking  

 The Students’ Assignment  

 The Students’ Statements  

 The Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric  


Chapter 2: The “Able” in “Willing and Able” to Think Critically  


 Core Critical Thinking Skills  

 Interpreting and Analyzing the Consensus Statement  

 The Jury Is Deliberating  

 Critical Thinking Skills Fire In Many Combinations         

 Strengthening Our Core Critical Thinking Skills  

 The Art of the Good Question  

 Skills and Subskills Defined  

 Inductive and Deductive Reasoning  

 Nurses’ Health Study - Decades of Data  

 Inductive Reasoning  

 Cosmos vs. Chaos  

 Deductive Reasoning  


Chapter 3: The “Willing” in “Willing and Able” to Think Critically  


 A Group Engaged in Crisis-Level Critical Thinking  

 The Spirit of a Strong Critical Thinker  

 Positive and Negative Habits of Mind  

 Preliminary Self-Assessment  

 Research on the Disposition toward Critical Thinking  

 Seven Positive Critical Thinking Habits of Mind  

 Negative Habits of Mind  

 Is a Good Critical Thinker Automatically a Good Person?  

 Building Positive Habits of Mind  

 Reconnecting Skills and Dispositions  


Chapter 4: Clarifying Ideas  


 Interpretation, Context, and Purpose  

 How Precise Is Precise Enough?  

 Language and Thought  

 Vagueness: “Does the Term Include This Case or Not?”   

 Problematic Vagueness    

 Ambiguity: “Does the Term Mean This, or Does It Mean That?”   

 Problematic Ambiguity    

 Resolving Problematic Vagueness and Ambiguity   


 Clarifying Original Intent    

 Negotiating the Meaning    

 Using Qualifications, Exceptions, or Exclusions    

 Stipulating the Meaning    

 Your Language Communities    

 National and Global Language Communities    

 Language Communities Formed of People with Like Interests   

 Academic Disciplines as Language Communities   

 Critical Thinking and College Introductory Courses   


Chapter 5: Using Maps to Analyze Arguments and Decisions  


 Analyzing and Mapping Arguments  

 “Argument = (Reason + Claim)”  

 Two Reasons, Two Arguments  

 Two Confusions to Avoid  

 “Reason” and “Premise”  

 Distinguishing Reasons from Conclusion  

 Mapping Claims and Reasons  

 Mapping a Line of Reasoning  

 Mapping Implicit Ideas  

 Interpreting Unspoken Reasons and Claims in Context  

 Interpreting the Use of Irony, Humor, Sarcasm, and More  

 Giving Reasons and Making Arguments in Real Life  

 The El Train Argument from Twelve Angry Men  

 Huckabee and Stewart Discuss “The Pro-Life Issue — Abortion”  

 Analyzing and Mapping Decisions  

 “We Should Cancel the Spring Trip” #1  

 “We Should Cancel the Spring Trip” #2  


Chapter 6: Evaluating Claims  


 Assessing the Source — Whom Should I Trust?  

 Claims Without Reasons  

 Cognitive Development and Healthy Skepticism  

 Authority and Expertise  

 Learned and Experienced  

 On-Topic, Up-to-Date, and Capable of Explaining  

 Unbiased and Truthful  

 Free of Conflicts of Interest, and Acting in the Client’s Interest  

 Unconstrained, Informed, and Mentally Stable  

 Assessing the Substance — What Should I Believe?  

 Donkey Dung Detector  

 Marketing, Spin, Disinformation, and Propaganda  

 Slanted Language and Loaded Expressions  

 Independent Verification  

 Can the Claim Be Confirmed?  

 Can the Claim Be Disconfirmed?  

 Independent Investigation and the Q-Ray Bracelet Case  

 Suspending Judgment  


Chapter 7: Evaluating Arguments  


 Giving Reasons and Making Arguments  


 Logical Strength  



 The Four Tests for Evaluating Arguments    

 Test #1: Truthfulness of the Premises   

 Test #2: Logical Strength  

 Test #3: Relevance  

 Test #4: Non-Circularity  

 Contexts for Argument Making and Evaluative Terms  

 Common Reasoning Errors  

 Fallacies of Relevance  

 Appeals to Ignorance  

 Appeals to the Mob  

 Appeals to Emotion  

 Ad Hominem Attacks  

 Straw Man Fallacy  

 Playing with Words  

 Misuse of Authority  


Chapter 8: Evaluating Deductive and Inductive Reasoning  


 Deductive Validity and Language  

 Reasoning Deductively about Declarative Statements  

 Denying the Consequent  

 Affirming the Antecedent  

 Disjunctive Syllogism  

 Reasoning Deductively about Classes of Objects  

 Applying a Generalization  

 Applying an Exception  

 The Power of “Only”  

                Reasoning Deductively about Relationships  

 Transitivity, Reflexivity, and Identity  

 Fallacies Masquerading as Valid Deductive Arguments  

 Affirming the Consequent  

 Denying the Antecedent  

 False Classification  

 Fallacies of Composition and Division  

 False Reference  

 Inductions and the Evidence at Hand  

 Evaluating Generalizations  

 Was the correct group sampled?  

 Were the data obtained in an effective way?   

 Were enough cases considered?   

 Was the sample representatively structured?  

 Coincidences, Correlations, and Causes  




 Fallacies Masquerading as Strong Inductive Arguments  

 Erroneous Generalization  

 Playing with Numbers  

 False Dilemma  

 The Gambler’s Fallacy  

 False Cause  

 Slippery Slope  


Chapter 9: Snap Judgments — Heuristic Thinking  


 Human Decision-Making Systems  

 The “Two-Systems” Approach to Human Decision Making          

 Reactive (System-1) Thinking  

 Reflective (System-2) Thinking  

 The Value of Each System  

 Heuristics: Their Benefits and Risks  

 Individual Cognitive Heuristics  

 1. Satisficing and 2. Temporizing  

 3. Affect: “Go with your Gut”  

 4. Simulation  
 5. Availability  
 6. Representation                                  
 7. Association                                 
 8. Stereotyping 
 9. “Us vs. Them” 
10. Power Differential 
11. Anchoring with Adjustment 
12. Illusion of Control  

13. Optimistic Bias and 14. Hindsight Bias  

15. Elimination by Aspect: “One Strike and You’re Out” 
16. Loss and Risk Aversion                                
17. “All-or-Nothing”  

 Heuristics in Action  


Chapter 10: Deciding What to Do and Doing It   


 Dominance Structuring: A Fortress of Conviction  

 “I Would Definitely Go to the Doctor”  

 Explaining and Defending Ourselves  

 A Poorly Crafted Assignment  

 Moving from Decision to Action  

 Phase 1: Pre-editing  

 Phase 2: Identifying One Promising Option  

 Phase 3: Testing the Promising Option  

 Phase 4: Fortifying the To-Be-Chosen Option  

 Benefits and Risks of Dominance Structuring  

 O.J. Simpson’s Vigorous Defense  

 Self-Regulation Critical Thinking Skill Strategies  

 Critical Thinking Precautions when Pre-editing  

 Be Sure About “the Problem”  

 Specify the Decision-Critical Attributes  

 Be Clear about Why an Option Is In or Out  

 Critical Thinking Precautions When Identifying the Promising Option  

 Scrutinize Options with Disciplined Impartiality  

 Listen to Both Sides First  

 Critical Thinking Precautions when Testing the Promising Option  

 Use All the Essential Criteria  

 Treat Equals as Equals  

 Diligently Engage in Truth-Seeking and Remain Impartial  

 Critical Thinking Precautions when Fortifying the To-Be-Chosen Option  

 Be Honest with Yourself  

 Critical Thinking Strategies for Better Decision Making  

 Task Independent Teams with the Same Problem  

 Decide When It’s Time to Decide  

 Analyze Indicators and Make Mid-Course Corrections  

 Create a Culture of Respect for Critical Thinking  


Chapter 11: Comparative Reasoning — “This is Like That” Thinking  


 Comparative, Ideological, and Empirical Inferences   

 “This is Like That” — Recognizing Comparative Reasoning   

 Evaluating Comparative Inferences  

 Do the Four Tests of Acceptability Apply?  

 Five Criteria for Evaluating Comparative Reasoning  






 Shaping our View of the Universe for Two Thousand Years   

 The Many Uses of Comparative Inferences  


Chapter 12: Ideological Reasoning — “Top Down” Thinking


 “Top Down” Thinking — Recognizing Ideological Reasoning  

 Examples of Ideological Reasoning   

 Three Features of Ideological Reasoning  

 Ideological Reasoning Is Deductive in Character  

 Ideological Premises Are Axiomatic  

 The Argument Maker Takes the Ideological Absolutes on Faith  

 Evaluating Ideological Reasoning  

 Are the Ideological Premises True?  

 Logical Strength and Ideological Belief Systems  

 Relevancy, Non-Circularity and Ideological Reasoning   

 Uses, Benefits and Risks of Ideological Reasoning  


Chapter 13: Empirical Reasoning — “Bottom — Up” Thinking  


 Recognizing Empirical Reasoning  

  Characteristics of Empirical Reasoning  

 Empirical Reasoning Is Inductive  

 Empirical Reasoning Is Self-Corrective  

 Empirical Reasoning Is Open to Independent Verification  

 Hypotheses, Conditions and Measurable Manifestations  

 Conducting an Investigation Scientifically  

 Perhaps the First Recorded Empirical Investigation  

  Steps in the Process an Extended Example  

 Evaluating Empirical Reasoning   

 Benefits and Risks Associated with Empirical Reasoning   

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Customer Reviews

Cheap books February 14, 2011
Very good book for critical thinking and how you want to interpret things. This is also the cheapest price I have found for this book.
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