The Elements of Thought Online Resource

Learning without thinking leads to confusion; thinking without learning leads to trouble.
Confucius – The Analects 2.15

Welcome to the Elements of Thought Online Resource. This resource is for students, teachers, and anyone who wants to learn how we think…and how to think deeply.

The site’s philosophy is based on the work of Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder in the field of critical thinking. Their work as Fellows of the Foundation for Critical Thinking has made a tremendous difference in schools, businesses, and governments around the world.  The insights of Dr. Paul and Dr. Elder have resulted in a framework for thinking that is both simple and powerful. You will learn how to think yourself into a new way of looking at the world, a way that will give you insights into how you, and others, see the world.

The Elements of Thought are what we will be exploring in this course. What needs to be stressed is that this framework of critical thinking is, according to Paul and Elder, applicable to any subject and any discipline. We will look at each Element using a variety of scenarios, and in the end you will be able to apply the Elements of Thought to your personal and professional thinking.

Before you get started, just a few things about this approach to critical thinking. This resource does not include formal or semi-formal logic. Ideas such as fallacy theory, syllogisms, and deductive and inductive reasoning are also not covered. Finally, the site will not go deeply into the evaluation of thinking or the standards for thinking, but they will be implied, as will the traits and virtues of a good critical thinker.

This is an introduction to the Elements of Thought that can be used by teachers and students alike. It is can also be used for review or reteaching. The level targeted is middle school through the first years of undergraduate, although parts can be applied at any level.

This resource provides both teachers and students a practical introduction to the Elements of Thought. It is a place to go back to when you might be unsure about an element is or when to use it. It will help you think better about real things that truly matter.

© 2015-2023 Gary Meegan