April 28, 2012
Personal Reflection Paper
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following: understand the logical connections between ideas, identify, construct, and evaluate arguments, detect discrepancies and common mistakes in reasoning, solve problems systematically, identify the relevance and importance of ideas, and reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values. I have learned many things about critical thinking, however one of the most important is that criticism is a necessary part of critical thinking. Criticism is equally important in resolving issues. A viewpoint may seem extremely reasonable, the ideal ground for compromise between opposing views, yet contain subtle flaws. Sometimes these become evident only when the idea is translated into a course of action. Next would be learning to focus on my ideas. I am often reluctant to evaluate my own ideas because my familiarity makes it difficult to see flaws. The longer I work on a problem or an issue, the more accustomed I become to its details. In addition, once my effort produces a solution, I may be so captivated by it that I have difficulty seeing it objectively. Lastly, I learned to avoid assumptions. I often take something for granted; I expect that things will be a certain way because they have been that way in the past or because I want them to be that way. Now when I am faced with a decision, I examine the positive and negative emotions associated with my decision. This helps me limit the influence of my emotions on my decisions. I now replace my egocentric thinking with more rational thought through systematic self-reflection. I closely analyze the behavior that is encouraged, and discouraged in the groups to which I belong. I know I am a part of groups...