Thinking skills: the question of generality
This paper examines the question of whether there are useful general thinking skills. It offers a working definition of 'thinking skill' and identifies ways in which this concept has been over-applied. Thinking skills, used across domains, are not inevitably weak as a result of the generality–power tradeoff. Admitting that thinking skills require domain-specific knowledge for their application, it is contended nonetheless that there are general thinking skills that involve substantial amounts of domain-independent knowledge. These skills usually address 'generic thinking tasks', common mental challenges that people face in many practical and intellectual endeavours, including the 'domain of practical affairs'. The educational implications of these findings are discussed.