What is critical thinking? Critical thinking, reading and writing all require a certain set of skills in order to come to a conclusion. These skills require that questions be asked that will gather more information about a specific issue. By asking these questions one will be able to answer the question or make a decision because they know more about the situation. It is vital to know how, when and what questions to ask while thinking critically. Critical thinking requires an open mind and it is important that emotions do not influence the thinking or decision making process.
Critical thinking is often described as the use of those cognitive skills and strategies in order to increase the probability of a desirable outcome. It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned and goal directed - the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking task. (Halpern) Critical thinking also involves and evaluation of the thinking process - the reasoning that went into the conclusion we have arrived at the kinds of factors considered in making a decision. Since Critical thinking focuses on a desired outcome it is often called directed thinking. (Halpern)
In basic and common language, critical thinking is a method of evaluating viewpoints, opinions and solving problems. It is a process of eliminating emotions, fallacies and ambiguities as one reaches his or her personal conclusion. It requires an open mind to change ones opinions or conclusion after asking questions and looking on from many different points of view. This is a process will lead to better decisions in business as well as better decisions from people in leadership roles and even in individual's personal lives.
Psychologists Wade and Tavris came up with eight steps to critical thinking.
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