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critical thinking wheel

The Elements of Thought in Reasoning

 

All reasoning has a PURPOSE.

      Take time to state your purpose clearly

      Distinguish your purpose from related purposes

      Check periodically to be sure you are still on target

      Choose significant and realistic purposes

           

All reasoning is an attempt TO FIGURE SOMETHING OUT, TO SETTLE SOME QUESTION, TO SOLVE SOME PROBLEM.

      Take time to clearly and simply state the question at issue

      Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope

      Break the question into sub-questions.

      Identify if it is a factual question, a preference question, or a question that requires reasoning.

           

All reasoning is based on ASSUMPTIONS.

      Clearly identify your assumptions and check for their probable validity.

      Check the consistency of your assumptions.

      Reexamine your question at issue when assumptions prove insupportable.

 

All reasoning is done from some POINT OF VIEW.

      Identify your own point of view and its limitations.

      Seek other points of view and identify their strengths as well as weaknesses.

      Strive to be fairminded in evaluating all points of view.

 

All reasoning is based on DATA, INFORMATION, AND EVIDENCE.

      Restrict your claims to those supported by sufficient data.

      Lay out the evidence clearly.

      Search for information against your position and explain its relevance.

 

All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, CONCEPTS AND IDEAS.

      Identify each concept that is needed to explore the problem, and precisely define it.

      Explain the choice of important concepts and the implications of each.

      Define when concepts are used vaguely or inappropriately.

 

All reasoning contains INFERENCES by which we draw CONCLUSIONS and give meaning to data.

      Tie inferences lightly and directly from evidence to conclusions.

      Seek inferences that are deep, consistent and logical.

      Identify the relative strength of each of your inferences.

 

All reasoning leads somewhere, has IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES.

      Trace out a variety of implications and consequences that stem from your reasoning.

      Search for negative as well as positive consequences.

      Anticipate unusual or unexpected consequences from various points of view.