Critical thinking is the capacity to distinguish between effective and ineffective processes of inference and requires the formation of beliefs based upon sound reasoning. The word critical derives from the Greek word critic and implies a critique; it identifies the intellectual capacity and the means “of judging” and of being “able to discern.” Much information and knowledge in everyday life can not be proven to be decisively correct or incorrect; critical reasoning is the capacity for objective analysis and evaluation in order to form a judgment on the process through which knowledge or information was generated. The literature on critical thinking has roots in two primary academic disciplines: philosophy and psychology.
Critical thinking is a form of metacognition, it is self-directed and self-monitored; it is about developing the conceptual tools to be able to think for oneself. Critical thinking is about trying to understand our processes of reasoning and developing standards for improving them, it is a way of thinking about any subject in which the person improves the quality of their thinking by assessing, analyzing, deconstructing and reconstructing it to try and improve its clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth and logical consistency. This book is broken down into four main sections, where we will look at the major themes of cognition, logic, reasoning and argumentation. The first section looks at human cognition to understand the basic biological and evolutionary constraints placed on us when it comes to effective reasoning. Here we will talk about how the brain works, look at some of the central insights from cognitive science and talk about some of the many limitations and flaws prevalent within human cognition.
In the second section, we will look at logic. Although critical thinking is much more than just logic, reason and logic lay at the heart of constructive thinking. Here we talk about the various different forms of logic, inductive, deductive, formal, informal etc. In the third section, we will start our discussion on the theme of reasoning, the process through which we take in information and use some logic to infer conclusions. We will take the process apart to understand the elements of effective reasoning. Here we will talk about the standards of reasoning, elements of reasoning, creative thinking and more. In the final section, we discuss the important topic of argumentation, how people with diverse, or even divergent opinions, come to resolve their differences in order to develop new knowledge, make decisions, or reach consensus on some issue. This book is based upon the work of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and is designed to provide an overview to critical thinking that should be accessible to all.
Publish Date: 21-7-2017
Length: 55 pages
Category: Systems Theory