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ABSTRACT The ideal of critical thinking is a central one in Russells philosophy though this is not yet generally recognized in the literature on critical thinking For Russell the ideal is embedded in the fabric of philosophy science liberalism and rationality and this paper reconstructs Russells account which is scattered throughout numerous papers and books It appears that he has developed a rich conception involving a complex set of skills dispositions and attitudes which together delineate a virtue which has both intellectual and moral aspects It is a view which is rooted in Russells epistemological conviction that knowledge is difficult but not impossible to attain and in his ethical conviction that freedom and independence in inquiry are vital Russells account anticipates many of the insights to be found in the recent critical thinking literature and his views on critical thinking are of enormous importance in understanding the nature of educational aims Moreover it is argued that Russell manages to avoid many of the objections which have been raised against recent accounts With respect to impartiality thinking for oneself the importance of feelings and relational skills the connection with action and the problem of generalizability Russell shows a deep understanding of problems and
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