Peter A. Facione talks about a basic definition of critical thinking. “At one level we all know what “critical thinking” means – it means good thinking, almost the opposite of illogical, irrational thinking” (Peter A. Facione). Developing from this definition we may say that critical thinking is a logical and rational way of thinking. It is what every human being should strive to. However, this is not a full definition of the term as it may relate to other terms as well; for example, creative thinking. Critical thinking is more than just logical. It is a way to solve problems, to find solutions and to just live one’s life. It is not certain that if one uses this skill in everyday life, he will have a good job, home and a high standard of life. However, if one does think critically he is a lot more likely to improve his chances at a great life.
There are reasons behind everything we do, at least there should be. Only too often to we make fast, unanalyzed decisions which we regret afterwards. Critical thinking puts a stop to this. “What matters are the reasons we have for believing something and the implications of our beliefs”. (Alec Fisher) Concentrating on reasons, a critical thinking strives to find the best path to a successful future.
“Critical thinking is that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. (Richard Paul and Linda Elder). This basically says that when faced with a problem a person should take a couple of steps. He or she should analyze the problem before him and come up with everything he knows on this topic. Any information connected with this problem should also be reviewed. When thinking critically one must explore all the possibilities. The next step is to come up with a number of solutions and then, by criticizing them, by trying to find flaws in them, come up with the best solution. This requires definite skills. When a person realized that he needs to possess a certain skill to find the best solution he acquires it. With the possession of the skill he can now use it help him come out of a situation. Critical thinking makes people work and try their hardest to dig deep for the source of the problem to solve it not for just a short period of time, but to solve it for good.
Critical thinking is a skill each person should obtain. That is why it is being tough more and more often in schools and higher educational establishments. It is important to teach the population to think, so that even when they do not know something, they will be able to obtain it and, more importantly, they will know that they have to obtain it. “In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness”. (Michael Scriven & Richard Paul) These are the values each citizen of planet Earth should have in order to insure that our world develops in the best way possible.
1. Michael Scriven & Richard Paul (20.08.2011). Defining Critical Thinking. Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/define_critical_thinking.cfm
2. Alec Fisher. Critical Thinking. An introduction. Cambridge University Press. New York, NY. 2001
3. Peter A. Facione. Critical Thinking: What it is and why it counts. Measured Reasons and The California Academic Press, Millbrae, CA. 2011
4. Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008