Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows: Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness.
He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief.
He established the importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well.
His method of questioning is now known as "Socratic questioning" and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy.
In his mode of questioning, Socrates highlighted the need for thinking for clarity and logical consistency.
It followed a philosophy where the thinker was removed from the train of thought and the connections and the analysis of the connect was devoid of any bias of the thinker.
Kerry Walters describes this ideology in his essay Beyond Logicism in Critical Thinking, "A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal (and, to a lesser extent, formal) logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective.
The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and metacognition.
According to Reynolds (2011), an individual or group engaged in a strong way of critical thinking gives due consideration to establish for instance: In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills.
Aristotle and subsequent Greek skeptics refined Socrates' teachings, using systematic thinking and asking questions to ascertain the true nature of reality beyond the way things appear from a glance. The "first wave" of critical thinking is often referred to as a 'critical analysis' that is clear, rational thinking involving critique. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.
Socrates set the agenda for the tradition of critical thinking, namely, to reflectively question common beliefs and explanations, carefully distinguishing beliefs that are reasonable and logical from those that—however appealing to our native egocentrism, however much they serve our vested interests, however comfortable or comforting they may be—lack adequate evidence or rational foundation to warrant belief. defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action." In the term critical thinking, the word critical, (Grk.