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Paul and Elder Critical Thinking

Using the web pages associated with the Foundation for Critical Thinking website, choose one of the four topics below and respond to the aspects of the prompt in at least 400 words.

The essay must be 400 words in length, excluding title and reference pages, and formatted according to APA style.  The only resources you will need to complete this assignment are the web pages of the critical thinking website that relate to your chosen topic. However, if you would like to include other sources, that is encouraged. Just be sure that you utilize the critical thinking web pages as your primary sources of information.

Choose one:

Inference and Assumption

Explain the difference between inference and assumption. Then, present four inferences you have made and connect those inferences to their underlying assumptions. Looking back, which of these were proper inferences, and which were improper inferences? Why?

Purpose, Point of View, and Decisions

Outline a problem that you currently face or have faced recently. Define the assumptions that you have about this issue. Explain your point of view, and outline the information that you have analyzed in relation to this problem. Finally, explain the implications that have arisen or will arise when you respond to this problem.    

Valuable Intellectual Traits    

Of the valuable intellectual traits listed in the online readings from this week, identify three of them that you believe you need to strengthen. Explain the traits, and then describe how you will attempt to implement actions in your life that will maximize those intellectual virtues.

Open-Minded Inquiry

Using the online reading “Open-minded Inquiry,” identify what you consider to be the three most important attributes that one must have as he or she approaches problems. Explain why you think these attributes are the three most important, and describe examples from your own life, or from the lives of those you know, in which people failed to display those attributes.



Required Resources


  1. Foundation for Critical Thinking. (2011). The critical thinking community. Retrieved from
    • The resources from this website relate directly to numerous critical thinking skills that will aid students in argumentation, analysis of biases and prejudice, and thinking through multiple perspectives.

For this week, you will need to access the following pages from the above website:

  1. The Analysis & Assessment of Thinking
  2. Defining Critical Thinking
  3. How to Study and Learn (Part One)
  4. Distinguishing Between Inferences and Assumptions
  5. Open-minded Inquiry
  6. Universal Intellectual Standards


Recommended Resources


  1. Acrobat741. (2007, November 17). The matrix and the cave [Video file].  Retrieved from
    • This video relates The Matrix to Plato’s cave allegory. Students can utilize this resource to further examine the relationship between assumptions about reality and the actual truth of reality. Transcript
  2. Kemick, A. (2010, August 12). Stereotyping has lasting negative impact: Prejudice has lingering effects, study shows. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved from  
    • This article will introduce students to the relationship between stereotyping and the level of thought that goes on when such stereotyping occurs. Students will be able to question their own stereotypical thinking and analyze methods for eliminating these forms of thinking.
  3. Slinkycode. (2007, March 5). 12 angry men – This is how you deal with prejudice[Video file]. Retrieved from
    • This video aligns with responses to prejudicial thinking and the elimination of such thinking. Transcript



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