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Six levels of critical thinkers

Six levels of critical thinkers

Researchers identified six predictable levels of critical thinkers:

  • The unreflective thinker
  • The challenged thinker
  • The beginner thinker
  • The practicing thinker
  • The advanced thinker
  • The master thinker

Using your mind more effectively is not automatic. Moving up on this pyramid of thinking is dependent on developing your critical thinking skills.

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The Unreflective Thinker

These are people who don't reflect on thinking nor consider the consequences of not thinking. Their prejudices and misconceptions lead them.

They do not consistently apply standards like accuracy, relevance, precision, and logic.

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The Challenged Thinker

People at this intellectual stage are aware of the importance of thinking and know that the lack of thinking can result in major issues.

  • They acknowledge that their own mental processes might have many flaws but are unable to identify all the weaknesses.
  • They may spot some instances of their own self-deception.
  • They may have a sense that proper thinking involves navigating assumptions, inferences, and points of view, but only on a basic level.

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The Master Thinker

This super-thinker is in control of how they process information and make decisions. They always seek to improve their thinking skills.

  • A master thinker commits to being fair
  • They have gained control over their egos
  • They display superior practical knowledge and insight.
  • They always re-examine their assumptions for weaknesses, logic, and biases.
  • They don't get upset with being intellectually confronted.

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The Advanced Thinker

The higher-level thinker has strong habits. They can analyze their thinking with insight. They can spot some of the prejudicial aspects of their thinking and of others. They possess:

  • "intellectual insight" to develop new thought habits
  • "intellectual integrity" to recognize areas of inconsistency and contradiction in their life
  • "intellectual empathy" to put oneself in the place of others in order to really understand them
  • "intellectual courage" to confront ideas and beliefs they don't necessarily believe in and have negative emotions toward

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The Beginning Thinker

Thinkers at this level can look to take control of their thinking across areas of their lives. They know their thinking can have blind spots, but initially take limited steps to address that.

  • They become self-aware in their thoughts.
  • They start looking at the concepts and biases underlying their ideas and develop higher internal standards of clarity, accuracy, and logic, all the while realizing their ego plays a major role in their decisions.
  • They can take some criticism of their mental approach.

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The Practicing Thinker

They not only recognize their own deficiencies but have the skills to address them.

  • They regularly analyze their mental processes.
  • They may still lack a systematic way of gaining insight into their thoughts and can fail to recognize self-deceptive reasoning.

To get to this stage, it is important to gain intellectual perseverance.

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ikert

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