Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Essay by jah_rule24University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Critical thinking involves the ability to weigh evidence, examine arguments, and construct rational bases for generally accepted beliefs. In order to establish a theoretical basis for studying critical thinking, a great quantity of research has been done. Critical thinking is not only the ability to reason and construct arguments, but also the ability to examine the reasoning processes involved and being able to evaluate their appropriateness and effectiveness. This "judgment" aspect is what makes critical thinking more than just problem solving. It is not sufficient to be able to apply problem-solving strategies to a particular problem; a true critical thinker must be able to choose appropriate strategies and even create new ones when necessary.

Decision-making is concerned not only with the outcome value but also with the amount of risk each decision carries. The concept of probability occupies an important place in the decision-making process, whether the problem is one faced in business or just in one's everyday personal life.

Decision-makers often face a severe lack of information. Most decisions are made in the face of uncertainty. Probability enters into the process by playing the role of a substitute for complete knowledge. Probability assessment quantifies the information gap between what is known, and what needs to be known for optimal decision-making.

The text defines critical thinking as a system of questions that is consistent with the spirit of curiosity, wonder, and intellectual adventure essential to critical thinking. Critical questions provide a structure for critical thinking that supports a continual,

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ongoing search for better opinions, decisions, or judgments (Browne, Keeley, McCall, Kaplan, 2001, ).

The term "critical thinking" as used in the text, refers to the following: awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions; ability to ask and answer critical questions at appropriate...