Knowledge and critical thinking

The implicit connection between knowledge and critical thinking is embedded in most literature. For example, as various authors have noted, knowledge and thinking are closely related (Bereiter 2002; Pithers and Soden 2000). Similarly, as Halpern noted, it is clear that knowledge is acquired through thinking, while the process of thinking requires knowledge (Halpern 2003). In effect, critical thinking is not possible without knowledge, and intellectual maturity is a prerequisite for critical thinking (Kurfiss 1988). These remarks in turn identify the strong enabling role of education in developing critical thinking (Kimmel 1995), while experience linked to knowledge is reported to determine the overall quality of reasoning (Paul and Elder 2012). Three categories of knowledge are identified: general information and basic facts to enable valid evaluation; specific content-based knowledge related to discipline-specific and contextual information; and experience, which includes intellectual development and knowledge gained from life and work experiences.

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