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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 31, Issue 1, Spring 2016

Amanda Hiner
Pages 52-68
DOI: 10.5840/inquiryct20163115

Truth-seeking Versus Confirmation Bias
How Richard Paul’s Conception of Critical Thinking Cultivates Authentic Research and Fairminded Thinking

This article, written in response to a kind invitation by Linda Elder, Gerald Nosich, and Frank Fair to contribute a reflective piece honoring the life, work, and intellectual contributions of Dr. Richard Paul, focuses on the ways in which his conception of critical thinking fosters fairminded, authentic, ethical reasoning and research. Richard Paul’s framework for critical thinking emphasizes and cultivates Socratic, “strong-sense,” fairminded thinking and intellectual humility, enabling students to understand the implications of fairminded research and providing them with valuable strategies to combat egocentrism and confirmation bias. This article explains not only why the Paul/Elder conception of critical thinking fosters fairmindedness and ethical reasoning in both students and teachers, but it outlines how the application of this framework for critical thinking can transform classroom teaching and research paper assignments in order to encourage and cultivate metacognitive analysis and authentic research in student writers.