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 Critical Thinking
 Critical Thinking
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Thinking Critically, Seventh Edition
John Chaffee et al.

*Some of these glossary definitions have been adapted and reproduced by permission of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Many computer and Web-related definitions have been contributed by Jason Snart, College of DuPage.

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accomplishment Something completed successfully, an achievement. Also an acquired skill or expertise.

accurate Conforming exactly to fact; errorless; deviating only slightly or within acceptable limits from a standard.

active learner One who takes initiative in exploring one’s world, thinks independently and creatively, and takes responsibility for the consequences of one’s decisions.

active participant One who is always trying to understand the sensations one encounters instead of being a passive receiver of information, a container into which sense experience is poured.

alternative A choice between two mutually exclusive possibilities, a situation presenting such a choice, or either of these possibilities.

altruistic Showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

ambiguous Open to more than one interpretation; doubtful or uncertain.

analogical relationships Relationships that relate things belonging to different categories in terms of each other.

analogy A comparison between things that are basically dissimilar made for the purpose of illuminating our understanding of the things being compared.

analysis The study of the parts of an intellectual or material whole and their interrelationships in making up a whole.

appeal to authority A type of fallacious thinking in which the argument is intended to persuade through the appeal to various authorities with legitimate expertise in the area in which they are advising.

appeal to fear An argument in which the conclusion being suggested is supported by a reason invoking fear and not by a reason that provides evidence for the conclusion.

appeal to flattery A source of fallacious reasoning designed to influence the thinking of others by appealing to their vanity as a substitute for providing relevant evidence to support a point of view.

appeal to ignorance An argument in which the person offering the conclusion calls upon his or her opponent to disprove the conclusion. If the opponent is unable to do so, then the conclusion is asserted to be true.

appeal to personal attack A fallacy that occurs when the issues of the argument are ignored and focus is instead directed to the personal qualities of the person making the argument in an attempt to discredit the argument. Also referred to as the “ad hominem” argument (“to the man” rather than to the issue) or “poisoning the well. ”

appeal to pity An argument in which the reasons offered to support the conclusions are designed to invoke sympathy toward the person involved.

appeal to tradition A misguided way of reasoning that argues that a practice or way of thinking is “better” or “right” simply because it is older, traditional, or has “always been done that way. ”

application The act of putting something to a special use or purpose.

argument A form of thinking in which certain statements (reasons) are offered in support of another statement (a conclusion).

artificial intelligence (AI) Generally defined as the capacity for machines to simulate human intelligence (i. e. , to reason and to think creatively).

assumption Something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof.

authoritarian moral theory A moral theory in which there are clear values of “right” and “wrong,” with authorities determining what these are.

authorityAn accepted source of expert information or advice.