My Twitter network pointed me towards this video on Critical Thinking and it took my breath away. It is an amazingly well produced and compelling piece of work. Well worth watching. I have tried to take some notes below:
Critical thinking involves a multitude of thought processes involved in evaluating information and evaluating our thought in a disciplined way.
It isn’t just thinking a lot. It is possible to spend a lot of time thinking about a flawed position, or pursuing a question that needs to be reformulated before progress can begin. To think critically we need to examine possible flaws and biases behind our thinking approach.
To think critically we must seek to pinpoint and minimize biasing influence from culture and upbringing. We must seek out and be guided by knowledge and evidence that fits with reality even when if refutes out cherished beliefs.
Critical thinkers cultivate attitude of curiosity and eagerness to widen perspective and broaden knowledge and are willing to do work required to keep themselves properly informed.
Critical thinkers embrace scepticism: doubting and suspending judgement about claims with which we are presented. Take time to examine reasoning, assumptions and biases behind any claim. The truth value of factual claims is not determined by the emotion that accompanies them OR the fact that they may be believed by certain social groups.
These traits can sabotage one’s capacity for critical thought:
- lack of respect for reason
- intellectual arrogance
- unwillingness to listen
- intellectual laziness
- lack of respect for evidence
One of biggest barriers to critical thinking is unwillingness to see complex issues in anything other than black and white terms. “If we think in false dichotomies we will draw false conclusions“.
Black and White thinking often reflects an underlying intolerance of ambiguity. Leaping to flawed conclusions because you can’t tolerate not knowing. This is about comfort. Critical thinkers can handle uncertainty.
“When we teach and encourage critical thinking we empower individual lives and invest in our collective future”
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