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Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows: Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness.Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.
The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence.
Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.
This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon".
The adoption of these principals parallels themselves with the increasing reliance on a quantitative understanding of the world.
The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind.
The ability to critically analyze an argument – to dissect structure and components, thesis and reasons – is essential.
Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight.
He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational.
The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking.
"First wave" logical thinking consisted of understanding the connections between two concepts or points in thought.