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Psihološka istraživanja
2011, vol. 14, iss. 1, pp. 5-23
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper
published on: 08/11/2011
doi: 10.5937/PsIstra1101005P
Similarities and differences in conceptualizing critical thinking
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Psychology



Identification, measurement and development of the cognitive and emotional competences important for a Europe-oriented society (MESTD - 179018)


In this paper we explore the core similarities and differences in conceptualizing critical thinking. The framework of analysis refers to conceptions of leading critical thinking theorists: Ennis, Siegel, Paul, McPeck and Lipman. Two key questions are in the focus of consideration: which are the defining characteristics of critical thinking, distinguishing it from other types of thinking, and what are its constituents. The nature of identified differences has lead to a dilemma whether critical thinking skills are generalized or domain specific, as well as to the question regarding the role of noncognitive critical thinking dispositions. We also discuss the relation between the dominant approach founded in informal logic and epistemological conceptions that expanded the meaning of critical thinking by elaborating its reflective, dialectical and dialogical dimensions. The prevailing view that emphasizes the pragmatic purpose of critical thinking is contrasted with the competing Endeavour to base and justify its purpose in the concept of emancipatory rationality. The analysis outcomes suggest that, in spite of the lack of a consistent theoretical framework, competing conceptions do share some core principles, especially with respect to the distinctive features of critical thinking. However, there are deep and intrinsic differences regarding the nature of critical thinking standards and constituents, which can probably be attributed to complex and multidiscoursive nature of the concept itself.


critical thinking; distinctive features of critical thinking; constituents of critical thinking


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