The dictionary defines critical thinking as “disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded and informed by evidence.” It comprises practical reasoning that results 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. Critical thinking IS of a higher order thinking that helps a person judge what is right or wrong, choose between political candidates, or decide about global warming.
The critical thinking person knows how to gather and process information and uses 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, deciding and judging and solving problems.
Critical thinking plays a part in these types of thinking and we think in those terms constantly. But, critical thinking isn’t about deciding to surf the web for information about dogs – but, when you choose a site and then decide on what the site says about dogs – you’ve entered the critical thinking realm.
Critical thinking helps you see both sides of the coin rather than only concentrating on evidence that supports your way of seeing the issue. Gathering all 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 decide 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 arises in your daily life.