Argument Mapping
Cognitive Biases and Blindspots
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Miscellaneous & Fun
Postmodernism and all that
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Top Ten

  1. Argument Mapping Tutorials.  Six online tutorials in argument mapping, a core requirement for advanced critical thinking.
  2. The Skeptic's Dictionary - over 400 definitions and essays.
  3. The Fallacy Files by Gary Curtis. Best website on fallacies.
  4. Butterflies and Wheels. Excellent reading - news, articles, and much more.   
  5. Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts by Peter Facione. Good overview of the nature of critical thinking. (pdf file)
  6. Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion by John Stuart Mill. Classic chapter, densely packed with wisdom about thinking.
  7. Chance - best resource for helping students think critically about issues involving probability and statistics
  8. Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, by Richards Heuer. A good overview of how to improve thinking in the light of insights from cognitive psychology. 
  9. A Handbook on Writing Argumentative and Interpretative Essays by Ian Johnston 
  10. Baloney Detection Part 1 and Part 2 - by Michael Shermer. 10 step guide.

What is critical thinking?

Nobody said it better than Francis Bacon, back in 1605:

For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things … and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture.

A shorter version is the art of being right.

Or, more prosaically: critical thinking is the skillful application of a repertoire of validated general techniques for deciding the level of confidence you should have in a proposition in the light of the available evidence 

More definitions...

Software for Critical Thinking

Software for better decision making

Latest additions

6 Dec

The Idea Emporium
Zany.  Fun. Spirited critical thinking.

Internet Detective
“Sure, you use the Internet all the time, but you need to wise up to the web when you use it for your university or college work.”

21 May

in Vendors

New Zealand-based online store selling thinking skills resources of various kinds.  See also the proprietor's blog for reflections on teaching thinking skills.

5 Mar

in Teaching - Resource Sites

Critical Thinking Consortium
"...a non-profit association of institutional partners, school districts, faculties of education, teaching professionals, associations and other educational organizations. Our aim is to promote critical thinking from primary to post-secondary education through professional development, publications and research." [Mar 07]

13 Feb

in Teaching - Resource Sites

Philosophy & Reasoning Network - Tibi Cogitate
A resource site for teachers of philosophy and critical thinking, particularly in the secondary school context. By teachers, for teachers.  [13 Feb 07]

29 Nov

in Blogs

Rationale Thoughts
"Critical verbiage from Tim van Gelder". My new blog.

27 Nov

in Email Lists and Newsletters

A Google group for discussion of issues relating to the Rationale argument mapping software.


The Argument Mapping Tutorials (see #1 in Top Ten) have been updated with new graphics and made available totally free of charge.  What an excellent proposition :)


A classic book in the better thinking/better writing genre is Barbara Minto's The Pyramid Principle.  It would be the closest thing to a how-to-think Bible in business and management consulting circles.  Unfortunately it seems there are precious few online resources on the Minto approach; if you want the good oil, you have to buy the book (or pay dearly to attend a Minto seminar).  However I did come across a couple of very succinct overviews, here and here. [17 Nov 05]

5 Oct 06

in Podcasts (new page)

skepticality - truth in podcasting - The official podcast of Skeptic magazine
"People will believe anything. Why is that? Our podcast is here to bring you relevant, under reported current events, as well as in-depth discussions from a scientific, critical, skeptical, and humorous point of view. In our travels we will tackle the beasts of pseudoscience; the paranormal, supernatural, ufo / alien encounters, mis-understood history, astronomy, space, and overwrought legends - urban or otherwise."

The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe
"The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is a weekly Podcast talkshow produced by the New England Skeptical Society (NESS) in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) : discussing the latest news and topics from the world of the paranormal, fringe science, and controversial claims from a scientific point of view."

in Statistics and Probability - Essays

The Vitality of Mythical Numbers by Max Singer
Classic essay about how exaggerated numbers get "made up" and then circulated, and how people fail to ask what they evidence is for them, or whether they are reasonable.  [20 Aug 06]

in Argument Mapping - Software

29 Mar 06

in Blogs

The NonSequitur
"Speaking Validity to Power: A Logical Analysis of Political Media".  Regular doses of logical dissection of political rhetoric. By two philosophy professors. [29 Mar 06]

28 Feb

Best Practices for Understanding Quantitative Data by Jonathan G. Koomey
Adapted from Koomey's excellent book Turning Numbers into Knowledge. "When dealing with quantitative data, business analysts must be skeptical, think critically, and assume nothing." [28 Feb 06]

16 Jan

in Fallacies, and Blogs

"Humbug! Online - a blog for iconoclasts"
Wicked stuff.  "Regular postings based on fallacies covered in our book Humbug! ... Using a seamless combination of both passion and restraint, we expose erroneous thinking with irony, whimsy, sarcasm, satire, caricature, "distortature" and occasional breathtaking hypocrisy. Humbug! the book is a considered and carefully written commentary on fallacies. Humbug! the blog is less considered, more spontaneous and at times more outrageous. No poppy is too short to be lopped." [16 Feb 06]