A Composite Taxonomy of Critical Thinking Dispositions


Authors
W. Martin Davies
University of Melbourne
Abstract
This paper develops a taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions using dispositional formulations identified over 40 years of research in the area. Critical thinking dispositions refer to the ‘habits’, ‘virtues’ or ‘intellectual character’ that prompts people to exercise their critical thinking skills. As such, they are as vital as the skills themselves. A person may be skilled in analysis, evaluation, or forming inferences, but without a disposition to do so, skills are impotent. Educating for critical thinking—both skills and dispositions—is an increasingly important enterprise. The skills are clear enough and well-documented. However, to educate for critical thinking dispositions, we need to understand what dispositions are, and which are most important. Previous literature has been devoted to listing dispositions and categorising them, but there is much debate over the details. Attempts to reconcile various dispositional listings are limited. This paper is a step in the direction of a composite taxonomy.
Keywords Critical thinking  Argumentation  Critical thinking skills  Dispositions
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