At a site called Critical Thinking, we learn that Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is supposed to have said,
Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture.” – Francis Bacon (1605)
So far as we can determine, what Bacon actually said was this:
I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things (which is the chief point), and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth.
Does anyone know if Bacon ever used the term “critical thinking.” It sounds suspiciously twentieth century – perhaps it is a modern description of his attitude that has somehow got itself posted as a thinkquote. See this, for example.
It pays to ask: Our fearless readers traced the term “intelligent design” back to the mid-1760s.