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What Is Critical Thinking and Ways To Improve It

by | Published: | Updated: 15/12/2019


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Being able to think critically is an essential skill. You need to wade through what everyone is saying and pick out the truth from the nonsense.

As a child, you learned a lot of things without realizing – how to walk, how to speak, how to say ‘please’ to get what you wanted, or how not to say ‘please’ and be a jerk.

But as we get older, we need to learn to consciously think for ourselves. Critical Thinking is the greatest skill you can master. Animals can’t do it and machines can’t do it. If you don’t want to be replaced by an algorithm or a Labrador someday, you need to learn how to think in a way that makes you indispensable. 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 role 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.

 

What is Critical thinking:

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe.

 

The importance of critical thinking:

  • Critical Thinking helps us to form ideas.
  • Critical Thinking helps us to identify weaknesses in a theory.
  • Critical Thinking is a method that uses any and all of these actions – Observe. Analyse. Interpret. Reflect. Evaluate. Infer. Explain. Solve. Decide.
  • Critical Thinking is the language of the mind.
  • Critical Thinking protects us from manipulation by others.
  • Critical Thinking protects us from our own mistakes.
  • Critical Thinking is about asking all the relevant questions –  the who’s, where’s, when’s and how’s, but mainly the why’s.
  • Critical Thinking is a skill.
  • Critical Thinking is a muscle. Exercise your thinking to make it stronger.

Way to Improve Critical Thinking

I think there are two broad approaches that will work to make better decisions:

  1. The first is creating a context that will lead to better decisions, in light of what we know about human reasoning already.
  2. The second is to absorb lots and lots of knowledge about the world and integrate it through practice making decisions—in other words, critical thinking comes from being smart.

Creating Contexts that Enable Smart Decisions

This first strategy is to recognize what you’re actually doing when you’re reasoning about things and uses this knowledge to try to avoid making common mistakes. There’s a few things you can do:

  • Examine the decision in multiple times, places and moods.
  • Talk to more people and have more debates.
  • Don’t stake your reputation on your choice.

Be Smarter and Know More

The second strategy is to approach to improving critical thinking which works is to simply learn more about the world. The more you know about things, the better you can reason about them.

 

Critical thinking, therefore, doesn’t happen because you’ve studied some abstract logical form and come to valid deductions. It happens because you know enough about how the world works to rule out certain possibilities as being unlikely or impossible.

 

The downside to this is that it means critical thinking can’t just be picked up by taking a few credits in college. It means you need to be learning constantly, about all subjects, to make intelligent decisions.

The upside is that it also means much smarter decisions are possible. Far from just being an abstract faculty you either have or you don’t, critical thinking is part of the process of knowing things, to begin with, and that you can get better at it by learning more throughout your life.

For detailed study about Critical Thinking visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

 



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