Critical Thinking is Bogus

Alex Reid argues against the belief that "critical thinking" is a generic skill set that transfers across disciplinary boundaries.

Basically because it makes the same error as we have seen with teaching writing: it imagines that "thinking" is a kind of universal activity or general skill. And while there is a level of commonality to all human thought and perhaps even some common cognitive reasoning capacity that is shared among all academic endeavors, that commonality, like the commonality we see among writing activities, is quite basic. Instead, I would suggest (and I don't think I'm alone here) that cognition is a systemic activity (distributed even) and that the "thinking skills" (critical or otherwise) required of students in different disciplines (and later in their professions) are situated and are not easily practiced outside of those contexts. In short the teaching of "critical thinking" faces that same kinds of knowledge transfer problems as writing instruction.