History and Analysis of Critical Thinking

Dissertation, The University of Memphis (Formerly Memphis State University), 1992
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"History and Analysis of Critical Thinking"

The purpose of this study is to examine the history of the term
"critical thinking" and related terms. This study is a review of the
literature from 1910 to 1992, where the meanings, definitions, and
descriptions of these terms are examined using philosophical analysis.

The critical thinking movement seems to have begun with the work of
John Dewey from 1910 to 1939 and his use of the terms "reflective thinking"
and inquiry" which he based on the scientific method. From 1940 to 1961,
Edward M. Glaser, David H. Russell, and B. Othanel Smith broadened the
meaning of the term "critical thinking" to include the examination of
statements. With the work of Robert H. Ennis, Karl O. Budmen, R. R. Allen
and Robert K. Rott, and Edward D'Angelo from 1962 to 1979, the meaning of
the term "critical thinking" narrowed to exclude problem solving and the
scientific method and include only the assessment of statements. With the
contributions of Robert H. Ennis, John E. McPeck, Harvey Siegel, and
Richard W. Paul from 1980 to the present, the meaning of the term "critical
thinking" has broadened to include aspects of problem solving.

The conclusion of this study is that the meanings of the terms "critical
thinking" and "problem solving" overlap or intersect. Further, this study
suggests the continued use of these two terms, but recommends the
introduction of new terms to describe the relationship between the terms
"problem solving" and "critical thinking."

Copyright 1992 by James Thomas Streib