Which is better, fats or carbohydrates? Will drug use and crime drop if we legalize marijuana use? Is this country in a recession, a recovery, or a depression? Should I refinance the house? There are many questions and issues that bombard us every day. Everyone has an opinion, whether it is the news media, your doctor, your priest, a subject matter expert, or your mother. Who should we believe? This is where critical thinking and decision making come in. This paper will define critical thinking and decision-making.
Browne and Keeley (2001) define critical thinking as consisting "of an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, plus the ability and willingness to ask and answer them at appropriate times." Critical thinking can, and should, be used each day. Living in the information age, we are under a constant barrage of opinions, facts, and information. The first critical thinking question we should ask is "Who cares?" Our time is very valuable and is an irreplaceable commodity.
We need to sift through the issues and decide what to devote our energy to (Browne and Keeley 2001).
Kurland (1995) more thoroughly defines critical thinking as: Concerned with reason, intellectual honesty, and open-mindedness, as opposed to emotionalism, intellectual laziness, and closed-mindedness. Thus, critical thinking involves: following evidence where it leads; considering all possibilities; relying on reason rather than emotion; being precise; considering a variety of possible viewpoints and explanations; weighing the effects of motives and biases; being concerned more with finding the truth than with being right; not rejecting unpopular views out of hand; being aware of one's own prejudices and biases, and not allowing them to sway one's judgment. Kurland's definition covers all the main aspects of critical thinking quite clearly. If I were to sum up critical thinking in one word, it...