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Today is the day to…
Assume that you are a conformist
“Only when you can admit that you
are a conformist can you begin to
identify when and where you
(Drs. Elder and Paul in 25 Days to Better Thinking & Better Living…Ibid)
“Living a human life entails…
 membership in a variety of human groups such as
nation, culture, profession, religion, family, peer…
 We find ourselves participating in groups before
we are aware of ourselves as living beings.
 To varying degrees, all of us accept as right and
correct whatever ways of acting and believing are
fostered in the social groups.”
Typically, we accept group norms
…and this acceptance is uncritical…
It is useful to remember that…
 “Group membership
clearly offers some
 But those advantages
come with a price.”
 Groups impose their
 Rules
 Conventions
 Folkways
 Taboos
 i.e.,
group norms
Don’t Conform
“Most people function in social
groups as unreflective participants
in a range of beliefs, attitudes, and
behaviors analogous to those of
urban street gangs.”
Be an independent thinker
 Don’t be a conformist…
 Without
on your beliefs
 Without
examining the
beliefs of the groups
to which you belong
 “…mindlessly
following the crowd,
 “…unquestioning the
cultural conventions
indoctrinated into our
thinking throughout a
For a fuller discussion
 Ask yourself the myriad questions that you find on
p.40—fourteen questions that can help you identify
conformity—in yourself and in others; in virtually
every domain of life.
 See pp. 40-41 in 25 Days to Better Living & Better
Health, by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul,
(Ibid) for a fuller discussion.
“Overcoming indoctrination requires
committed effort, insight, and courage.”
(Drs. Elder and Paul, Ibid)
“It is the proof of a bad cause when it
is applauded by the mob.” - Seneca
Six Strategies
 Dr. Elder and Dr. Paul outline six
strategies you can use to become a
more independent thinker.
 See pp. 42-43 in their book, (Ibid).
“Recognize that there is one free community
you can always join--
 the community of independent thinkers found in the
best books that have ever been written.
 Independent thinkers can always find a range of
great thinkers waiting for them at the Library.”
Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul (Ibid).
Extend your reading on these
Remember that these Ppts…
 Reflect the tip of the iceberg
 Are a “fast track” sprint; a capsule view, if you will
 They are presented as an overview of what takes
much longer to truly develop…of what requires
much deeper focus and practice in your thinking
 Even the original plan of our authors was for a 25week “fast track”, not 25 days !
The source for this material and for our 25Day CT Challenge is…
25 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living: A Guide
for Improving Every Aspect of Your Life, by Dr. Linda
Elder & Dr. Richard Paul, Pearson, 2006; and the
Center and Foundation for Critical Thinking, CA.
Today I was successful in using the following ideas/strategies:
The key insights that emerged for me today were:
One problem in my thinking that I now realize is:
I plan to continue working on this problem using the following strategy: