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What is Critical Thinking?

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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17 July 2014 17:22
 

I invite patrons to offer their definition of Critical Thinking and-or Critical Thinking Skills.

I’ll elaborate slightly:
Is there a consensus on the exact meaning of critical thinking? Are there other useful thinking skills that aren’t critical? Are there any negative side effects of using critical thinking skills? What separates an objective conclusion from an subjective conclusion?


I’ll leave out the trioon if you leave out the cloud bunnies.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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17 July 2014 17:42
 

My humble opinion is that critical thinking is a set of skills and habits rather than a unifying ‘thing’ or ‘action’ that we can point to.  For me, critical thinking requires one to have the ability to:  recognize and attempt to limit bias (personal or otherwise); evaluate problems or questions and approach a ‘solution’, ‘answer’ or ‘action plan’ based on evidential reasoning – with the ability and willingness to adopt new evidence or new reasoning if such becomes available; a skeptical or clinical approach to evaluating evidence; an ability to explain or communicate effectively the key points of any such ‘problem’ or ‘question’ and why certain approaches to a ‘solution’ or ‘answer’ are more or less valuable;  the ability to approach a problem from a meta-perspective or to clinically detach oneself from personal or social opinions about a ‘problem’ or ‘question’ as a means of reducing or limiting subjective bias or opinion from potential ‘solutions’ or ‘answers’; recognition of cognitive structures that contribute to, or increase the risk of bias, false-positives, fallacious thought-constructs etc:;  and a recognition of the human impact of any proposed ‘answer’ or ‘solution’ that may be arrived at – taking into account the reality of social subjectivity and ethical impacts of said solutions. 

That sounds like a bunch of clinical jibber-jabber, but I think it approaches my thoughts on the matter.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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17 July 2014 18:00
 

To me, I understand critical thought best as the application (or attempt at) valuing clarity over conditioning. My reasoning is that consciousness is the tool that makes belief, memory, perception, thought, and emotion possible. Consciousness is objective in the sense that it exists in reality independent of perception because it’s a purely biological/natural phenomena. But conscious experience is entirely subjective. Conscious experience puts all incoming data through the subjective process of individually organizing, interpreting, and storing. Critical thought IMO is the futile attempted harmonization of consciousness and conscious experience. It’s the attempt to limit bias and impartiality despite it’s objective impossibility.

 
 
MARTIN_UK
 
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MARTIN_UK
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17 July 2014 18:12
 

Understanding our own bias, trying to view things with impartiality,  understand our own prejudice, then try to be as informed as you can when making a decision or evaluation…. before tossing the coin.

 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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17 July 2014 18:15
 

Systematic applied intellectual humility.

 
 
nv
 
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nv
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17 July 2014 18:28
 

Nhoj, a glib though somewhat valid reply would that critical thinking skills are those tendencies that enable a person to critique wisely. Swift seems to me to have been enormously successful in this sense, as he helped to shape and improve humanity’s lot. Shakespeare as well, of course.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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17 July 2014 19:21
 

Jefe’s post was right on.  I’ll add the ability to make fine discriminations in a multi-factorial environment, trying to recognize the relative influences of those factors.  To minimize personal biases and judge events as they are happening apart from those biases.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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17 July 2014 19:29
 

It’s tempting to list a lot of philosophical concepts and jargon. I was going to say ‘truth ethic’. But no, that’s not it.

Because you can be a liar and a scoundrel and still be a critical thinker. It’s just a skill. Not a worldview. Not an ethos. Not a guarantor of moral ends.

It’s also a bit hard to pin down because it will take a different shape depending on the objective and the context.

Essentially I think its the equitable and consistent evaluation of evidence and reasons. Combined with a commitment to the most efficient means available for solving any particular task.

It’s one of those things that’s often easier to identify in the negative rather than the positive.

 
Mike78
 
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Mike78
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17 July 2014 20:52
 

Crowd sourcing a good definition for something, while understanding the product will still be imperfect for a number of known and unknown reasons.

 
Mr Wayne
 
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Mr Wayne
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17 July 2014 21:08
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_of_Texas

quote:
In its 2012 platform, the Republican Party of Texas rejected the teaching of “Higher Order Thinking Skills… critical thinking skills and similar programs,” giving as a reason that this sort of teaching has “the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Brevity, yes!

 
MrRon
 
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MrRon
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17 July 2014 22:19
 

Definition of a Critical Thinker? The opposite of my sister.


Ron
grin

 
EN
 
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EN
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17 July 2014 23:19
 

I endorse Jefe’s post.  Don’t think I could add much to that.

My question would be “is critical thinking the only way that information can be acquired?”

I also think that it is interesting that nhoj would start such a thread.  Unique, it seems.

 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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17 July 2014 23:51
 
EN - 17 July 2014 09:19 PM

I endorse Jefe’s post.  Don’t think I could add much to that.

My question would be “is critical thinking the only way that information can be acquired?”

I also think that it is interesting that nhoj would start such a thread.  Unique, it seems.

Are you thinking of “revelation,” or something like that?

But,  sure, I feel something soft and warm, cuddle it, then my stomach feels better.  Later, I marry one and it nags.  Or I see a pretty colored thing, touch it,, and it hurts.  AOW, sensate experiences leads to information.

[ Edited: 18 July 2014 00:07 by Dennis Campbell]
 
 
cunjevoi
 
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cunjevoi
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17 July 2014 23:56
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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18 July 2014 00:01
 

Thank you for the prompt and interesting responses.

Rather than a one by one response, I will make something of this collectively in the days ahead. Yes, I’m up to something.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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18 July 2014 00:09
 
Nhoj Morley - 17 July 2014 10:01 PM

Thank you for the prompt and interesting responses.

Rather than a one by one response, I will make something of this collectively in the days ahead. Yes, I’m up to something.

I expect full accreditation and several pints of beer for my effort(s).  wink

 
 
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