This page features a collection of the best resources on critical thinking. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on critical thinking. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want a comprehensive overview of critical thinking:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Critical Thinking. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 12,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of critical thinking:
“Critical thinking is a widely accepted educational goal. Its definition is contested, but the competing definitions can be understood as differing conceptions of the same basic concept: careful thinking directed to a goal. Conceptions differ with respect to the scope of such thinking, the type of goal, the criteria and norms for thinking carefully, and the thinking components on which they focus. Its adoption as an educational goal has been recommended on the basis of respect for students’ autonomy and preparing students for success in life and for democratic citizenship. “Critical thinkers” have the dispositions and abilities that lead them to think critically when appropriate. The abilities can be identified directly; the dispositions indirectly, by considering what factors contribute to or impede exercise of the abilities. Standardized tests have been developed to assess the degree to which a person possesses such dispositions and abilities. Educational intervention has been shown experimentally to improve them, particularly when it includes dialogue, anchored instruction, and mentoring. Controversies have arisen over the generalizability of critical thinking across domains, over alleged bias in critical thinking theories and instruction, and over the relationship of critical thinking to other types of thinking. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Gerald Dworkin’s article on Critical Thinking [1000 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Tom Chatfield discuss Critical Thinking and Bias on the Social Science Bites podcast [31:09 mins]
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on Critical Thinking
For more introductory philosophy resources and reading lists check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.