Critical Thinking and Character

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Handbook of Research on Advancing Critical Thinking in Higher Education


This chapter advances the view that critical thinking and character must be redefined as mutually reinforcing capabilities, and taught in the light of this redefinition. After an analysis of how critical thought and character came to be separated into independent skill sets, the chapter surveys the limited efficacy of skills-based, character-neutral education in critical thinking. Next, the chapter presents rationales and methods for uniting critical thinking and character in higher education, drawing upon philosophical, sociological, and pedagogical evidence in support of this unification. Educational recommendations and directions for future research round out the chapter. Included among these recommendations is an emphasis on relationship-building as an instructional model to integrate education in character and critical thinking. Ultimately, the chapter makes the case that critical thinking cannot be taught effectively to students who have not developed the character necessary to face the consequences of critical thought.



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