Critical thinking is a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. We all want to be proud of a thought process that endorses our methods of arriving at the truth. We often call ourselves logical, using the term interchangeably with critical thinking to mean the same. Logic is defined as the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inferences. Thinking logically is a subset of critical thinking. We consider logical thought as a sign of intelligence but how much do we actually know about critical thinking?
Critical thinking requires a deliberate attempt to weigh our private thoughts while being dedicated to improving on them. At the same time asking ourselves questions of what we are thinking and how we are thinking. This is called meta-cognition, thinking about what you are thinking about.
Another aspect of critical thinking is a systematic skepticism. Every bit of information presented is suspect of the need to be scrutinized. All information is respectfully researched while considering validity and source. We need to be cognizant of our personal and opponent’s agendas that might be in play. Being a critical thinker is a fair-minded approach to hearing all proposals that are held up as premises. Human habits of thought are understood by the critical thinker as having a strong predisposition to fallibility and highly susceptible to vested interests.
As people, we are far from the ideal of becoming a society of critical thinkers. However, we can and should be dedicated to implicit thinking in all our endeavors. This goal can only be arrived at from a clear understanding of critical thinking and it’s principles with a willingness to critique daily our present practices of thought.
Critical thinking is a important aspect of Emotional Intelligence. Are you a critical thinker?