Critical thinking is a term that we hear a lot, but many people don’t really stop to think about what it means or how to use it. Critical thinking is not a matter of simply accumulating information. A person with a good memory and who knows a lot of facts is not necessarily good at critical thinking. Critical thinking should also not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks.
What exactly is critical thinking?
Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support a particular argument or conclusion. People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, ‘How do you know that? Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?’ and ‘Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?’
Critical thinking helps us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions. A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself.
1. Curiosity is the desire to learn more information and seek evidence as well as being open to new ideas.
2. Skepticism involves having a healthy questioning attitude about new information that you are exposed to and not blindly believing everything everyone tells you.
3. Finally, humility is the ability to admit that your opinions and ideas are wrong when faced with new convincing evidence that states otherwise.
1. The ability to think clearly and rationally is important whatever we choose to do. If you work in education, research, finance, management or the legal profession, then critical thinking is obviously important. But critical thinking skills are not restricted to a particular subject area. Being able to think well and solve problems systematically is an asset for any career.2. Good critical thinking promotes the ability to analyse information and integrate diverse sources of knowledge in solving problems, and is very important in the fast-changing workplace.
3. Thinking clearly and systematically can improve the way we express our ideas. In learning how to analyse the logical structure of texts, it also improves comprehension abilities.
4. Critical thinking promotes creativity. To come up with a creative solution to a problem involves not just having new ideas. It must also be the case that the new ideas being generated are useful and relevant to the task at hand. Critical thinking plays a crucial role in evaluating new ideas, selecting the best ones and modifying them if necessary
5. Critical thinking is crucial for self-reflection. In order to live a meaningful life and to structure our lives accordingly, we need to justify and reflect on our values and decisions. Critical thinking provides the tools for this process of self-evaluation.
Are You A Critical Thinker? Do you have these seven traits of critical thinkers?
1. Truth-seeking – Do you try to understand how things really are? Are you interested in finding out the truth?
2. Open-mindedness – How receptive are you to new ideas, even though intuitively they do not agree with you? Do you give them a fair hearing?
3. Analyticity – Do you try to understand the reasons behind things? Do you act impulsively or do you evaluate the pros and cons of your decisions?
4. Systematicity – Are you systematic in your thinking? Do you break down a complex problem into parts?
5. Confidence in Reasoning – Do you always defer to other people? How confident are you in your own judgment? Do you have reasons for your confidence? Do you have a way to evaluate your own thinking?
7. Maturity of Judgment – Do you jump to conclusions? Do you try to see things from different perspectives? Do you take other people’s experiences into account?