material from Linda Elder and Richard Paul)
intellectual standards which must be applied to thinking whenever
one is interested in checking the quality of reasoning about
a problem, issue, or situation. To think critically entails
having command of these standards. The ultimate goal, then,
is for these questions to become infused in your thinking, forming
part of your inner voice, then guides you to better and better
reasoning. While there are a number of universal standards,
the following are the most significant:
Clarity is the gateway standard. If a statement is unclear,
we cannot determine whether it is accurate or relevant. In
fact, we cannot tell anything about it because we don't yet
know what it is saying.
you elaborate further on that point?
you express that point in another way?
you give me an illustration?
you give me an example?
A statement can be clear but not accurate, as in "Most dogs
are over 300 pounds in weight."
that really true?
could we check that?
could we find out if that is true?
A statement can be both clear and accurate, but not precise,
as in "Jack is overweight." (We don't know how overweight
Jack is, one pound or 500 pounds.)
you give more details?
you be more specific?
A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise, but not
relevant to the question at issue.
is that connected to the question?
does that bear on the issue?
A statement can be clear, accurate, precise and relevant,
but superficial (that is, lacking in depth). For example,
the statement "Just say No" lacks depth because it treats
an extremely complex issue, the pervasive problem of drug
use among young people, superficially.
does your answer address the complexities in the problem?
are you taking into account the problems in the question?
that dealing with the most significant factors?
A line of reasoning may be clear, accurate, precise, relevant
and deep, but lack breadth (as in an argument from either
the conservative or liberal standpoint which gets deeply into
an issue, but only recognizes the insights of one side of
the question.) Ask:
we need to consider another point of view?
there another way to look at this question? What would
this look like from a conservative standpoint?
would this look like from the point of view of
When we think, we bring a variety of thoughts together into
some order. When the combination of thoughts
is mutually supporting and makes sense in combination, the
thinking is "logical." When the combination is not mutually
supporting, is contradictory in some sense, or does not "make
sense," the combination is not logical.
this really make sense?
that follow from what you said?
does that follow?
before you implied this and now you are saying that; how
can both be true?