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The Point of View of the Critical Thinker

Critical thinkers share a common core of purposes with other critical thinkers, in keeping with the values of critical thinking. This fact has a variety of implications, one of the most important of which is that critical thinkers perceive explicit command of the thinking process as the key to command of behavior. Applied to the learning process, this entails that they see reading, writing, speaking, and listening as modes of skilled thinking.

When they read, they see the text as a verbal representation of the thinking of the author. They strive to enter the writer's point of view. They strive to reconstruct the author's thinking in their own mind. When they write, they think explicitly about the point of view of their intended audience. They use their insight into the thinking of the likely audience to present their thinking in the most accessible way. Their speaking reflects a parallel emphasis. They use the dialogue to find out specifically the point of view and concerns of those with whom they are talking. They do not try to force their ideas on others. They recognize that people must think their own way to ideas and beliefs. They, therefore, share experiences and information more than final conclusions. They listen attentively to the thinking of others. They ask more questions than they make assertions.

Critical thinkers have a distinctive point of view concerning themselves. They see themselves as competent learners. They have a "can do" vision of their own learning. They do not see opposing points of view as a threat to their own beliefs. They see all beliefs as subject to change in the face of new evidence or better reasoning. They see themselves as lifelong learners.

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