Critical Thinking is the art of thinking about thinking while thinking in order to make thinking better.
What are the interwoven phases of Critical Thinking?
1) Analyze Thinking
2) Evaluate Thinking
3) Improve Thinking
What is the Aim of Critical Thinking?
Critical Thinking is the way you do everything you do, the best thinkers aim to make their ability to think well work in every dimension of their lives. They also make the study of thinking second nature to their way of thinking.
Review - Define what is Critical Thinking?
Critical Thinking is a mode of thinking about any subject, content, or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of their thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing and reconstructing it. Critical Thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored and self-corrective thinking
What does it mean to analyze thinking?
To analyze thinking one must identify its purpose, question, information, conclusion(s), assumptions, implications, main concepts, and point of view.
What does it mean to asses thinking?
In order to assess thinking one must check thinking for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, logic and fairness.
Orders of Thinking Critical?
Critical Thinking adds a second level of thinking to ordinary thinking.
First Order Thinking
First Order Thinking is spontaneous and non-reflective. It contains insight, prejudice, truth and error, good and bad reasoning, indiscriminately combined
Second Order Thinking
Second Order Thinking is First Order Thinking raised to a second level of conscious realization (analyzed, assessed and reconstructed.)
What must you become to be a good Critical Thinker?
Part of the Critical Thinking Process is to become Fair Minded. To be Fair Minded one must strive to treat every viewpoint relevant to a situation in an unbiased, unprejudiced way.
What is the opposite of fair-mindedness?
The opposite of fair-mindedness, intellectual unfairness; which is a lack of sense of responsibility to represent accurate and fair viewpoints with which one disagrees.
What is a Weak Sense Thinker?
Weak Sense Thinkers or Sophistic Sense Critical Thinkers recognizing the fault in others reasoning, but not in their own.
What is Sophistry?
Sophistry is the art of winning arguments regardless of whether there are problems in the thinking being used.
What is a Strong Sense Critical Thinker?
Strong Sense Critical Thinkers are consistent in the pursuit of the fair and just. They listen and work to be empathetic with the viewpoints of others. Strong Sense Thinkers also change their views when faced with better reasoning than their own.
Intellectual Humility is the Strive to discover the extent of your arrogance.
What is the opposite of Intellectual Humility?
The opposite of Intellectual Humility, Intellectual Arrogance; which is the natural tendency to think one knows more than one does know.
What is Intellectual Courage?
Intellectual Courage is to develop the courage to challenge popular beliefs.
What is the opposite of Intellectual Courage?
The opposite of Intellectual Courage, Intellectual Cowardice; which is for one to fear ideas that do not conform to one's own way of thinking.
What is Intellectual Empathy?
Intellectual Empathy is learning to enter opposing views empathically.
What is the Opposite of Intellectual Empathy?
The opposite of Intellectual Empathy, Intellectual Self Centeredness; which is thinking centered on ones' self.
What is Intellectual Integrity?
Intellectual Integrity is holding yourself to the same standards that you hold others to.
What is the opposite of Intellectual Integrity?
The opposite of Intellectual Integrity, Intellectual Hypocrisy; which is a state of mind unconcerned with true honesty. Also called being egocentric and hypocritical.
What is Intellectual Perseverance?
Intellectual Perseverance is refusing to give up easily; working your way through complexities and frustration.
What is the opposite of Intellectual Perseverance?
The opposite of Intellectual Perseverance is Intellectual Laziness; which is a tendency to give up easily when faced with an intellectually challenging task.
What is Confidence in Reason?
Confidence in Reason is respecting evidence, reasoning, and values them as tools for discovering the truth.
What is the opposite of Confidence in reason?
The opposite of Confidence in Reason, Intellectual Distrust of Reason; which is without confidence in reason, people naturally will have confidence in the truth of their own beliefs. Also means, undisciplined thinkers feel threatened by good reasoning.
What is Intellectual Autonomy?
Valuing independence of thought.
What is the opposite of Intellectual Autonomy?
The opposite of Intellectual Autonomy is Intellectual Conformity or Intellectual Dependence which means that large masses of people can become intellectually dependent on authorities. Also means that there is a passive acceptance of the "status quot."
What are the stages of thinking?
Stage One- The Unreflected Thinker- we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking).
Stage Two- The Challenged Thinking- we become aware of problems in our thinking.
Stage Three- The Beginning Thinker- we try to improve but without regular practice.
Stage Four- The Practicing Thinker- we recognize the necessity of regular practice.
Stage Five- The Advanced Thinker- we advance in accordance with our practice.
Stage Six- The Master Thinker- skilled and insightful thinking become second nature to us.
Stage One- The Unreflected Thinker
Everyone is born this way and most people are this way most of their lives.
Unreflected people come from all walks of life- from the poor to the rich to the professional sophisticated. Unreflected thinkers are unaware of the role that thinking is playing in their lives
Stage Two- The Challenged Thinker
Without knowledge of our ignorance, we cannot seek the knowledge we lack.
At this stage one becomes aware that normal thinkers often think poorly.
The challenged thinker will begin to notice the flaws in the way they think.
Stage Three- The Beginning Thinker
People begin to take thinking seriously. This is the stage of developing will power. Stage of dawning realizations and emerging conscious.
Two traps that can derail a beginning thinker?
Dogmatic Absolutism- believing that truth is acquired not through reasoning and inquiry but rather through some predetermined nonintellectual path.
Subjective Relativism- believing that there are no intellectual standards by which to judge anything as true or false.
Stage Four- The Practicing Thinker
Committing oneself to daily practice in thinking well and begin to design your own plan for practice. Good theory, good practice and good feedback are essential. Must develop a game plan for improvement.
Influences on Beliefs-
Sociological- Our minds are influenced by the social groups in which we belong.
Philosophical- our minds are influenced by our personal philosophy.
Ethical- influenced by the extent to which we behave in accordance with our obligations and the way we define our obligations.
Intellectual- influenced by the ideas we hold, by the manner in which we reason and deal with abstractions of abstract systems.
Anthropological- influenced by cultural practices, mores and taboos.
Ideological and Political- influenced by the structure of power and its use by interest groups around us.
Economic- influenced by the economic conditions under which we live.
Historical- influenced by our history and by the way we tell our history.
Biological- influenced by our biology and neurology.
Theological- our minds are influenced by our religious beliefs and attitudes.
Psychological- our minds are influenced by our personality and personal psychology
What are the strategies for the Practicing Thinker?
+Use wasted time to develop and practice.
+Handle one problem a day.
+Internalize intellectual standards.
+Keep an intellectual journal.
+Practice intellectual strategies.
+Reshape your character.
+Deal with your ego
What is one of the barriers to Self-Understanding?
Human Egocentrism is one of the barriers to Self-Understanding. Our life is deeply situated in our own immediate desires, pains, thoughts and feelings. Seek immediate gratification or long term gratification based on essentially a selfish perspective. We seek to get what we want, avoid disapproval of others, and justify ourselves in our own mind. These all create inner chains that enslave us, they affect our relationships, success, growth and happiness.
What are the minds three distinctive functions?
The three basic functions of the human mind:
a. Creates meaning
b. Making sense of the events of our lives, this function sorts events into named categories and finds patterns for us to relate to.
c. Continually tells us: That is what is going on. This is what is happening.
a. Monitor or evaluate the meanings created by the thinking function - evaluating how positive and negative events of our life are, given the meaning we are ascribing to them.
b. It continually tells us: This is how you should feel about what is happening in your life.
a. Allocates energy to action, in keeping with our definitions of what is desirable and possible.
b. Continually tells us: this is what this is worth getting
What three things is our mind continually communicating to us?
1) What is going on in our life.
2) Feelings- positive or negative about those events.
3) Things to pursue where to put our energy (in light of 1 and 2.)
There is an intimate, dynamic interrelation between thinking, feeling and wanting.
Whenever you are reasoning, you are trying to accomplish some purpose, within a point of view, using concepts or ideas. You are focused on some questions, issue, or problem, using information to come to conclusions, based on assumptions, all of which have implications.
How the parts of thinking fit together
Parts form an interrelationship
Our purpose affects the manner in which we ask questions.
The manner in which we ask questions affects the information we gather.
The information we gather affects the way we interpret it.
The way we interpret information affects the way we conceptualize it.
The way we conceptualize information affects the assumptions we make.
The assumptions we make affect implications that follow from our thinking.
The implications that follow from our thinking affect the way we see things, our point of view.
The best thinkers take command of?
Concepts- Concepts are the like air we breathe, they are everywhere. Although they are essential to our life, we rarely notice them. We approach virtually everything in our experience as something that can be decoded or given meaning by the power of our mind to create conceptualization and to make inferences on the basis of it hence to create further conceptualizations: You must become the master of your own conceptualizations and you must develop the ability to mentally remove "this or that" concept from things named by the concept and try alternative
The proper way to conceptualize things, events, situations, emotions and abstract ideas: You must first achieve a true command of the uses of words. Need to be proficient in your language and the meaning of words. As critical thinkers we must continually distinguish the concepts and ideas implicit in our social conditioning from the concepts and ideas implicit in the natural language we speak. Critical thinkers learn how to strip off surface language and consider alternative ways to talk and think about things
The best thinkers assess what?
Information- One cannot reason without using some set of facts, data or experiences as a constituent part of ones thinking. Finding trustworthy sources of information and refining one's own experience critically are important goals of critical thinkers:
The mind can take in information in three distinct ways:
1) by memorizing factoids or inert information ( which is not understood well enough to be used by the mind)
2) by mis-learning or partially learning information, or accepting illogical beliefs ( which leads to activated ignorance)
3) by bringing significant ideas accurately into the mind( which then leads to activated knowledge).
Review and define Inert Information
By inert information we mean taking into the mind information that though memorized we do not understand; despite the fact we think we do. Critical Thinkers try to clear the mind of inert information by recognizing it as such and transforming it through analysis, into something meaningful.
Review and define Activated Ignorance
By Activated Ignorance we mean taking into the mind, and actively using information that is false, though we mistakenly think it to be true. It is essential therefore that we question our beliefs, especially when acting upon them has significant potential implications for the harm, injury, or suffering of others.
Review and Define activated Knowledge
By activated knowledge we mean taking into the mind and actively using information that is true and also, when understood insight fully, leads us by implication to more and more knowledge. When we understand basic ideas, they become a form of activated knowledge.
The best thinkers distinguish between what?
Inference and Assumption
This is a crucial relationship between two of the elements: inference and assumption.
Distinguishing inferences from assumptions is an important skill to learn in Critical Thinking.
Review and Define Inference
Step of the mind, an intellectual act by which one concludes that something is true in light of something else's being true or seeming to be true is referred to as Inference. Inferences can be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, justified or unjustified.
Review and Define Assumptions
An assumption is something we take for granted or presuppose. Usually it is something we learned previously and do not question. It is part of our system of beliefs. We assume our beliefs to be true and use them to interpret the world around us. If your belief is a sound one, your assumption is sound. If your belief is not sound, your assumption is not sound. Beliefs and hence assumptions can be unjustified or justified depending upon whether we do or do not have good reasons for them.
What is the relationship between Inferences and Assumptions?
Humans naturally and regularly use our beliefs as assumptions and make inferences based on those assumptions. People automatically make inferences to gain a basis for understanding and action. We make inferences as to clarity of what we are saying, what requires further explanation, what has to be exemplified or illustrated, and what does not. Many inferences are justified and reasonable but some are not.
Review and define Conscious level of thinking
Information ( situation) -> Assumption-> Inference ( conclusion)
Important to Critical Thinking is the art of bringing is subconscious in our thought to the level of conscious realization. We learn to distinguish the raw data of our experience from our interpretations of those data. As developing critical thinkers, we want to begin to notice the inferences we are making, the assumptions upon which we are basing those inferences, and the point of view about the world we are developing.
The best thinkers think through?
Implications- Among the most important skills of Critical Thinking is the ability to distinguish between what a statement or situation actually implies and what people may merely and wrongly infer from it. Critical thinkers try to monitor their thinking so they infer only that which is implied in a situation; no more and no less.
Review and Define Implications
We reserve the word consequences for what actually happens in a given case. In short a consequence is what in fact occurs in some situation. As thinkers we want to think through all of the implications, (possible, probably and inevitable) of a potential decision before we make a decision and act on it. As thinkers, we want to be aware of what precisely we are implying when we say things. We also want to take into account the reasonability of what we are implying. If we do, we say that we mean what we mean and what we say; an important principle of integrity. As developing thinkers, we want to realize the important role of implications in human life. When we are thinking through a problem, issue, or question, we want to think through all the significant implications of the decisions we might make. We want to infer only what is being implied in specific situations. When we use language we want to be aware of what we are implying. We want to figure out what others are logically implying.
The best thinkers think across what?
Points of view- One of the most challenging elements to master is point of view
Review and Define a Point of view?
Recognizing that our point of view has many potential sources: - A point in time - A culture - A religion - A gender - A profession - A discipline - A peer group - An economic interest - An emotional state - An age group. Our dominant point of view as individuals reflects some combination of these dimensions. The best thinkers have a distinctive point of view concerning themselves. They see themselves as competent learners. They have a can do vision of their own learning. They do not see opposing points of view as a threat to their own beliefs. They see all beliefs as subject to change in the face of new evidence or better reasoning. They see themselves as lifelong learners
One of the fundamentals of Critical Thinking is the ability to assess one's own reasoning. To be good at assessment requires that we consistently take apart our thinking and examine the parts with respect to standards of quality. When we asses our reasoning we want to know how well we are reasoning. We assess our reasoning using intellectual standards because we realize the negative consequences of failing to do so. Thinking critically requires command of fundamental intellectual standards. Critical thinkers routinely ask questions that apply intellectual standards to thinking.
As critical thinkers we think about our thinking with these kinds of questions in mind
Am I being clear? - Am I Accurate? - Am I Precise? - Am I Relevant? - Am I thinking logically? - Am I dealing with a matter of significance? - Is my thinking justifiable in context?
Review Purpose, Goal, or End in View
Whenever we reason, we reason to some end, to achieve some objective or fulfill some need. As developing critical thinker, you should get in the habit of explicitly stating the purposes you are trying to accomplish. You should strive to be clear about your purpose in every situation and if you fail to stick to your purpose, you are unlikely to achieve it.
Review Question at issue or Problem to be solved
Whenever you attempt to reason-through something, there is at least one question to answer one question that emerges from the problem to be solved or issue to resolve. An area of concern in assessing reasoning, therefore, revolves around the very question at issue. An important part of being able to think well is assessing your ability to formulate a problem in clear and relevant ways. It requires determining whether the question you are addressing is important, whether it is answerable, whether you understand the requirements for settling the question, for solving the problem.
Review Point of view or Frame of reference
Whenever we reason, we must reason within some point of view or frame of reference. Critical thinkers strive to adopt a point of view that is fair to others, even to opposing points of view Good thinkers then, consider alternative points of view when they reason through an issue
Review Information, Data, Experiences
Whenever we reason, there is some stuff, some phenomenon about which we are reasoning. People reasoning should be assessed on their ability to give evidence that is gathered, and reported clearly , fairly and accurately.
Review Concepts, Theories, and Ideas
All reasoning uses some ideas or concepts and not others. These concepts include the theories, principles, axioms, and rules implicit in our reasoning. Any defect in the concepts or ideas of this reasoning is a possible source of problems in our reasoning. Critical thinkers should begin to focus more deeply on the concepts you use, assess the extent to which you are clear about those concepts whether relevant to the issue at hand, and whether your principles are slanted inappropriately by your point of view.
All reasoning must begin somewhere. It must take some things for granted. Any defect in the assumptions or presuppositions with which reasoning begins is possible source of problems in the reasoning. Assessing skills of reasoning involves assessing our ability to recognize and articulate assumptions, again according to relevant standards. Our assumptions may be clear or unclear, justifiable or unjustifiable, consistent or contradictory.
Review Implications and Consequences
Whenever we reason, implications follow from our reasoning. When we make decisions, consequences result from those decisions. As critical thinkers, we want to understand implications whenever and wherever they occur. We want to be able to trace logical consequences. We want to see where our actions are leading us to. We want to anticipate possible problems before they arise.
All reasoning proceeds by steps in which we reason as follows:
One- Because this is so, that is also so ( or probably so)or Because this, therefore that.
Two- The mind perceives a situation or set of facts and comes to a conclusion based on those facts. When taking this step of the mind, an inference results.
Any defect in our ability to make a logical inference presents a possible problem in our reasoning.
Critical thinkers want to become adept at making sound inferences. As a student interested in developing your mind, you should ask questions that will improve your ability to spot important inferences wherever they occur.
Critical Thinking Cards
WGU Problem Solving and Creative Thinking Flash Cards