What Is Critical Thinking?

critical thinking

WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

The dictionary defines critical thinking as, “disciplined thinking that is
clear, rational, open-minded and informed by evidence.” It consists of
practical reasoning that encompasses that result from logical thinking.
Many experts consider it the path to forming a responsible society rather
than one that only thinks about personal survival.

Critical thinking is NOT processing information such as turning on your
car blinker to turn left or right or counting change for the toll way.
Critical thinking IS of a higher order thinking that helps a person judge
what is right or wrong, choose between political candidates, or come to
a decision about global warming.

The critical thinking person knows how to gather and process
information and use his or her creative thinking to logically sort the
information into a reliable answer to a complicated or involved question
or problem.

To involve yourself with critical thinking practice, you must be able to
detach yourself from feelings and emotions and to narrow down any
question to the truth as you see it from your research and gathering of
information.

Critical thinking (cognitive) scientists agree that there are three types of
critical thinking:
Reasoning, making decisions and judging and solving problems. Critical
thinking plays a part in all of these types of thinking and we think in
those terms on a constant basis.

But, critical thinking isn’t about making a decision to surf the web for
information about dogs – but, when you choose a site and then make a
decision on what the site says about dogs – you’ve entered into the
critical thinking realm.

Critical thinking helps you see both sides of the coin (or issue) rather
than only concentrating on evidence that supports your way of seeing
the issue. Gathering all of the information and then basing your decision
on what you’ve learned is the best example of critical thinking.

To engage in critical thinking, it’s imperative that you not let emotions
or radical thinking interfere with the analytical type of thinking you
need to make a decision or solve a problem.

You can avoid many of life’s problems by practicing critical thinking
and relying on the wisdom you can get from other evidence. The
purpose of critical thinking is not to teach you how to think in a certain
way, but to get you thinking logically about any problem or
circumstance that arise in your daily life.

WHY IS CRITICAL THINKING IMPORTANT?
The importance of critical thinking in your life is crucial to keep you
from being scammed, losing out on success, being led astray and to
develop into an individual rather than a person who goes along with the
masses. It’s a skill that many people lack and one that’s more critical in
today’s world than ever because of the constant stream of media idea
that are presented at almost every waking moment of every day.

The critical thinking process helps you solve problems because you’re
able to analyze an issue from several viewpoints rather than taking
someone’s word for a fact or to base your decision on old values and
knowledge. Critical thinking skills are necessary to help you become a
truly competent and intelligent human being.

Critical thinking helps you to separate the truth from that which is false
– or perhaps incomplete or a truth based on mass thinking. When you
think critically, you’ll consider the problem thoroughly based on its
history and all of the elements it contains. You won’t base decisions on
assumptions but by the information you gather as you’re analyzing the
situation.

You’ll also be able to use the critical thinking process to find new
alternatives to problems and situations that come about in your life.

Rather than look at a situation in an assumptive way, you’ll look at the
factors that directly cause or influence it and be able to understand it on
other levels.

Unless you employ critical thinking in your decision-making, you’re
missing out on having the ability to see things in new ways. You’ll only
be seeing the bare minimum of a situation’s complexity and run the risk
of accepting statements and ideas at face value rather than gathering
knowledge and using the critical thinking process to decide if the idea is
one that you can believe.

Critical thinking can help you sort out what are facts and what is either
emotional, inaccurate, based on bias or doesn’t present the entire
picture. Since it’s almost impossible to eliminate emotion from your
reaction or attitude toward others or various situations, it’s very
important that you employ critical thinking techniques so you can make
the correct decision and one that isn’t based on emotional reaction.

When you think critically, you’ll receive the most accurate view of the
reality of a situation. It may not make you 100% objective, but you can
come closer to getting the results you want and having success with a
situation or issue.

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