Critical Thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment. The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking defines critical thinking as the “intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”
The dilemma between the heart and the mind is classic; it is an age-old conflict that prevails in the society. When the mind-the so called “rational thinker” says no but the heart, “an emotional fool” says yes, it can amount to a never-ending debate of considering and deliberating over the pros and cons of a certain issue. But human beings are programmed to be that way. However, these emotions more often than not cloud the ability to form an effective judgment that requires critical analysis of a situation and sometimes hurt your very own emotions.
The philosopher Richard Paul has described three kinds of people: vulgar believers, who use slogans and platitudes to bully those holding different points of view into agreeing with them; sophisticated believers, who are skilled at using intellectual arguments, but only to defend what they already believe; and critical believers, who reason their way to conclusions and are ready to listen to others.
Thus, critical thinking opens our mind to a plethora of options. Since all the arguments made are backed by logical statements, critical thinking helps us to accept, with respect, the ideologies and beliefs of others that we may not initially adhere to. It is not merely the passive putting up with conflicting ideas.
The question is “How to think critically about critical thinking?” There are certain pre-requisitives required to be able to think in a rational and unbiased manner.
First and probably the most important being “knowledge”- Acquiring the habit of reading and inculcating the ability of learning from anyone can help one expand his or her ocean of intellect.
Second essentiality is the ability to apply the concepts one learns in practical life. Application of theories and lessons in real-life situations is the true essence and aim of learning and education.
Third is developing a questioning attitude and having discussions without any hesitation.
And fourth is motivation-both intrinsic as well extrinsic to keep one moving up the ladder of imbibing the ability to think decisively.
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