How to be a Critical Thinker

Other definitions of Critical Thinking

Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal

... a composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills. This composite includes: (1) attitudes of inquiry that involve an ability to recognize the existence of problems and an acceptance of the general need for evidence in support of what is asserted to be true; (2) knowledge of the nature of valid inferences, abstractions, and generalizations in which the weight or accuracy of different kinds of evidence are logically determined; and (3) skills in employing and applying the above attitudes and knowledge.

National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue, assumptions, concepts, empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions, implications and consequences, objections from alternative viewpoints, and frame of reference.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analysis and evaluation. It includes all possible processes of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a solid judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense. In contemporary usage "critical" has a certain negative connotation that does not apply in the present case; the term "analytical thinking" may more accurately convey the idea.[1]

Critical thinking is here assumed to be reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. This rough overall definition is, we believe, in accord with the way the term is generally used these days. Under this interpretation, critical thinking is relevant not only to the formation and checking of beliefs, but also to deciding upon and evaluating actions. It involves creative activities such as formulating hypotheses, plans, and counterexamples; planning experiments; and seeing alternatives. Furthermore critical thinking is reflective -- and reasonable. The negative, harping, complaining characteristic that is sometimes labeled by the word, "critical", is not involved.[2]

How to criticize?

This is how you criticize or compliment a person or idea without hurting anyone. Here is the three basic Rs

Right time - Consider the time or situation. Do not rush in making your conclusion. Take time to think and analyze the situation or idea.

Right place - Talk to the person in private. Do not publicize, that will only make matters worst. Say to the person what you want. Tell him or her what's wrong or what statement that you've disagreed.

Right attitude - Do not be so grumpy when you talk to the person. Consider also his or her attitude. Be plain and simple. Do not say threats and prevent personal damage.

Why is critical thinking important?

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly or rationaly. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Being a critical thinker ables you to:

  • undertand logical connections between ideas
  • identify, construct and evaluate arguments
  • detect inconsistences and common mistaker in reasoning
  • solve problems systematically
  • identify the relevance and importance of ideas
  • reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values[3]

Critical thinking is not about criticizing a person, idea or situation. It is being able to think wisely in every situation.

Critical thinking should 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 tole in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions. [4]

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Comments 3 comments

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

I appreciate the terminology of critical thinking, I believe before a mass goes critical we must achieve clear thinking

Zeckeill profile image

Zeckeill 8 years ago from Philippines Author

Yeah, I agree.

gabriella05 profile image

gabriella05 8 years ago from Oldham

I agree MrMarmalade nice hub

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