Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

By Diane F. Halpern | Go to book overview

11
The Last Word

Thinking is like loving and dying: Each must do it for him (her) self.

--Anonymous

You may find that this is your favorite chapter because it is essentially a blank chapter. As you worked your way through this book, you learned information that should help you to become a better thinker. This is especially true if you also worked your way through the exercises, questions, and reviews in the Exercise Book that accompanies this text. Each chapter dealt primarily with one type of thinking category. This was necessary because a large block of information needed to be broken down so that it could be presented in manageable units. Unfortunately, thinking doesn't break into neat and separate categories and mixed sorts of skills are needed in most situations. Memory must always be accessed, the type of representation and the words we use will affect how we think, evidence always needs to be considered, thinking must be logical, and so on. As you go through life, you will need to use all of the skills that you practiced and improved upon in each of the chapters. But, most important, you need to adopt the attitudes and dispositions of a critical thinker. You need to find problems that others have missed, support conclusions with good evidence, and work persistently on a host of problems. I hope that your encounters with this book will help you become a better thinker.

This is also a good time to step back and reflect on the definition of critical thinking that was presented in the first chapter and the broad categories of information and strategies in the following chapters. Does the working definition of critical thinking seem like it captured the multiple dimensions of complexity that are inherent in critical thinking? Can you and will you use some of the information presented? Are you more likely to have a desirable outcome because of something that you learned? Have you adopted at least some of the attitudes of a critical thinker?

Although this is a nonchapter, there is a corresponding chapter in the Exercise Book that requires you to select and integrate thinking skills as you think through a variety of problems. As you work on these problems, try to put the entire text together in some way that is useful and meaningful to you. You are what and how you think. Be sure to act on your thoughts and to use them to advance yourself and to improve even a small corner of the world. Think well and with great wisdom. The future depends on it.

-393-

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Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Acknowledgments for the First Edition xiii
  • 1 - Thinking: an Introduction 1
  • Chapter Summary 32
  • 2 - Memory: The Acquisition Retention, and Retrieval of Knowledge 36
  • Chapter Summary 70
  • 3 - The Relationship Between Thought and Language 75
  • Chapter Summary 115
  • 4 - Reasoning: Drawing Deductively Valid Conclusions 118
  • Chapter Summary 162
  • 5 - Analyzing Arguments 167
  • Chapter Summary 207
  • 6 - Thinking as Hypothesis Testing 212
  • Chapter Summary 237
  • 7 - Likelihood and Uncertainty: Understanding Probabilities 241
  • Chapter Summary 277
  • 8 - Decision Making 281
  • Chapter Summary 313
  • 9 - Development of Problem-Solving Skills 317
  • Chapter Summary 360
  • 10 - Creativethinking 364
  • Chapter Summary 389
  • 11 - The Last Word 393
  • References 395
  • Author Index 409
  • Subject Index 415
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