This page lists and summarizes ideas and opinions relating to critical thinking and adopting a critical approach to issues. Readers can use the ideas here to improve their critical thinking skills while we continue to expound on various issues in the main blog.
What Is Critical Thinking?
From Dan Kurland’s Critical Reading site:
No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests. We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is “only human” to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity. We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed.
Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills. Among the main characteristics are the following:
We are thinking critically when we rely on reason rather than emotion, require evidence, ignore no known evidence, and follow evidence where it leads, and are concerned more with finding the best explanation than being right analyzing apparent confusion and asking questions.
We are thinking critically when we weigh the influences of motives and bias, and recognize our own assumptions, prejudices, biases, or point of view.
We are thinking critically when we recognize emotional impulses, selfish motives, nefarious purposes, or other modes of self-deception.
We are thinking critically when we evaluate all reasonable inferences consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives, remain open to alternative interpretations accept a new explanation, model, or paradigm because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies or covers more data accept new priorities in response to a reevaluation of the evidence or reassessment of our real interests, and do not reject unpopular views out of hand.
We are thinking critically when we are precise, meticulous, comprehensive, and exhaustive resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and avoid snap judgments.
We are thinking critically when we recognize the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives recognize the extent and weight of evidence
- Critical thinkers are by nature skeptical. They approach texts with the same skepticism and suspicion as they approach spoken remarks.
- Critical thinkers are active, not passive. They ask questions and analyze. They consciously apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding.
- Critical thinkers do not take an egotistical view of the world. They are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence.
- Critical thinking enables us to recognize a wide range of subjective analyses of otherwise objective data, and to evaluate how well each analysis might meet our needs. Facts may be facts, but how we interpret them may vary.
- Passive, non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world.
- They see things in black and white, as either-or, rather than recognizing a variety of possible understanding.
- They see questions as yes or no with no subtleties.
- They fail to see linkages and complexities.
- They fail to recognize related elements.
- Non-critical thinkers take an egotistical view of the world.
- They take their facts as the only relevant ones.
- They take their own perspective as the only sensible one.
- They take their goal as the only valid one.
Critical Thinking Essays And Insights
Methods of Knowing
Critical Thinking As A Generic Skill For Life, University of Canberra
Science, Pseudo-Science, and Falsifiability, by Karl Popper
Critical Thinking, What Is It Good For (In Fact, What Is It?), by Howard Gabennesch
Critical Thinking: Expanding the Paradigm, Mark Weinstein
Plato, Kant, Aristotle, and Rand by Leonard Peikoff
Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning by William M.K. Trochim
Learning Actively In Poker, by Alan Schoonmaker, PhD.
Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking, by William Hare
Videos by Critical Thinkers
Michael Shermer On Being Skeptical, by TED Talks
Michael Shermer On Pseudoscience, by Charlie Rose
Wonder, skepticism, and being scientific, by Carl Sagan
The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean, by Carl Sagan
One Voice In The Cosmic Fugue, by Carl Sagan
The Root Of All Evil, by Richard Dawkins
The Enemies Of Reason, by Richard Dawkins
The Genius Of Charles Darwin, by Richard Dawkins
Blogs Featuring Critical Thinking
orDover’s blog: The art of thinking critically and living life after religion
Being and Quirkiness: Musings of a realist philosopher and artist extraordinaire. RIP.
Objectivist Reason: Resonable, logical, and Objectivist truth.
Unreasonable Faith: a former Christian’s thoughts on faith, science and skepticism.
Applying Philosophy To Life: To choose to hold an inconsistent philosophy is to choose death.
Star Larvae, rescuing science from the religious know-nothings and religion from the scientific know-it-alls
Goodness World Life Blog, The Greatest Good for the greatest number.
The Thinker, A thinking man’s thoughts on thinking.
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