Another word for critical thinking

At the same time, skepticism has to be inwardly focused as well! But rationality also allows you to identify good arguments when you see them, and then to move beyond them and understand their further implications. Sooner or later you have to come up with your own ideas, your own solutions, and your own visions. That requires a creative and independent mind, but one that is also capable of listening and learning. Real critical thinking means you constantly engage with other people, listen to what they have to say, and try to imagine how they see the world.

Although video games are sometimes simply a passive way to enjoy yourself, they sometimes rely on critical thinking skills.

critical thinking

This is particularly true of puzzle games and role playing games RPGs that present your character with puzzles at critical moments. In order to save the innocent man, you have to talk to people throughout the town and, using a combination of empathy and skepticism, figure out what really happened. In one episode of South Park , Cartman becomes obsessed with conspiracy theories and sings a song about needing to think for himself and find out the truth. The show is poking fun at conspiracy theorists, who often think that they are exercising critical thinking when in fact they are simply exercising too much skepticism towards common sense and popular beliefs, and not enough skepticism towards new, unnecessarily complicated explanations.

Critical thinking, in the history of modern Western thought, is strongly associated with the Enlightenment, the period when European and American philosophers decided to approach the world with a rational eye, rejecting blind faith and questioning traditional authority. It was this moment in history that gave us modern medicine, democracy , and the early forms of industrial technology. At the same time, the Enlightenment also came with many downsides, particularly the fact that it was so hostile to tradition.

This hostility is understandable given the state of Europe at the time — ripped apart by bloody conflict between different religions, and oppressed by traditional monarchs who rooted their power in that of the Church. Enlightenment thinkers understandably rejected traditional thinking, holding it responsible for all this violence and injustice. But still, the Enlightenment sometimes went too far in the opposite direction. After all, rejecting tradition just for the sake of rejecting it is not really any better than accepting tradition just for the sake of accepting it!

Traditions provide valuable resources for critical thinking, and without them it would be impossible.

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So critical thinking absolutely depends on traditions. Until Einstein, no physicist was ever more influential than Isaac Newton. Critical thinking is a central concept in educational reforms that call for schools to place a greater emphasis on skills that are used in all subject areas and that students can apply in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout their lives. As higher education and job requirements become competitive, complex, and technical, proponents argue, students will need skills such as critical thinking to successfully navigate the modern world, excel in challenging careers, and process increasingly complex information.

Critical thinking also intersects with debates about assessment and how schools should measure learning acquisition. Assumptions can vary from the mundane to the problematic: I heard a scratch at the door.

Critical Thinking in 5 Words

I got up to let the cat in. I assumed that only the cat makes that noise, and that he makes it only when he wants to be let in. Someone speaks gruffly to me. I feel guilty and hurt. I assume he is angry at me, that he is only angry at me when I do something bad, and that if he's angry at me, he dislikes me. Notice that people often equate making assumptions with making false assumptions. When people say, "Don't assume", this is what they mean.

In fact, we cannot avoid making assumptions and some are justifiable. For instance, we have assumed that people who buy this book can read English. Rather than saying "Never assume", we say, "Be aware of and careful about the assumptions you make, and be ready to examine and critique them. All human thought and experience is based on assumptions. Our thought must begin with something we take to be true in a particular context. We are typically unaware of what we assume and therefore rarely question our assumptions.

Critical Tone Definition

Much of what is wrong with human thought can be found in the uncritical or unexamined assumptions that underlie it. For example, we often experience the world in such a way as to assume that we are observing things just as they are, as though we were seeing the world without the filter of a point of view. People we disagree with, of course, we recognize as having a point of view. One of the key dispositions of critical thinking is the on-going sense that as humans we always think within a perspective, that we virtually never experience things totally and absolutistically.

There is a connection, therefore, between thinking so as to be aware of our assumptions and being intellectually humble. Critical thinkers recognize that ultimate authority rests with reason and evidence, since it is only on the assumption that purported experts have the backing of reason and evidence that they rightfully gain authority. Much instruction discourages critical thinking by encouraging students to believe that whatever the text or teacher says is true.

As a result, students do not learn how to assess authority. See knowledge.


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One is neutral, the other negative. In the neutral sense we are referring simply to the fact that, because of one's point of view, one notices some things rather than others, emphasizes some points rather than others, and thinks in one direction rather than others.

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This is not in itself a criticism because thinking within a point of view is unavoidable. In the negative sense, we are implying blindness or irrational resistance to weaknesses within one's own point of view or to the strength or insight within a point of view one opposes. Fairminded critical thinkers try to be aware of their bias in sense one and try hard to avoid bias in sense two.

What techniques have you used to prevent bias from infiltrating analytics analysis?

Many people confuse these two senses. Many confuse bias with emotion or with evaluation, perceiving any expression of emotion or any use of evaluative words to be biased sense two. Evaluative words that can be justified by reason and evidence are not biased in the negative sense. See criteria, evaluation, judgment, opinion.

Clarity is a fundamental perfection of thought and clarification a fundamental aim in critical thinking. Students often do not see why it is important to write and speak clearly, why it is important to say what you mean and mean what you say. The key to clarification is concrete, specific examples. See accurate, ambiguous, logic of language, vague.

Humans think within concepts or ideas. We can never achieve command over our thoughts unless we learn how to achieve command over our concepts or ideas. Thus we must learn how to identify the concepts or ideas we are using, contrast them with alternative concepts or ideas, and clarify what we include and exclude by means of them. For example, most people say they believe strongly in democracy, but few can clarify with examples what that word does and does not imply.

We must distinguish the concepts implicit in the English language from the psychological associations surrounding that concept in a given social group or culture. The failure to develop this ability is a major cause of uncritical thought and selfish critical thought.

Critical Thinking | Definition of Critical Thinking by Lexico

See logic of language. All beliefs, decisions, or actions are based on human thought, but rarely as the result of conscious reasoning or deliberation. All that we believe is, one way or another, based on conclusions that we have come to during our lifetime. Yet, we rarely monitor our thought processes, we don't critically assess the conclusions we come to, to determine whether we have sufficient grounds or reasons for accepting them.

People seldom recognize when they have come to a conclusion.


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