Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Essay by rita29University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.6

Critical thinking is thinking that proceeds on the basis of careful evaluation of premises and evidence and comes to conclusions as objectively as possible through the consideration of all pertinent factors and the use of valid procedures from logic (Carter, 1973).

The word thinking can describe any number of mental activities. Much of our natural thinking, when left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet the quality of our lives depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Critical thinking is that mode of thinking--about any given subject--in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of its very structures and by imposing intellectual standards upon them. However, effective critical thinking involves consideration of the full range of possibilities to a problem, including emotional, cognitive, intellectual and psychological factors .

Thus, critical thinking belongs to the category of higher-level thinking skills.

Critical thinking is analytical and logical; it evaluates ideas and identifies the most reasonable ones. Critical thinking is clear, precise, accurate, relevant, consistent, and fair.

In short, critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking that entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities. While thinking in general is a natural activity of human beings, excellence in thinking must be cultivated and practiced.

Critical thinking is not some obscure method that requires knowledge of formal logic. It is not limited to the theoretical abstractions of academicians. Neither is it a form of faultfinding or negative thinking. Critical thinking is for everyone; it is a way to approach problems and make decisions. No single definition of critical thinking captures all that it is. We all do some critical thinking already and we can all improve our critical thinking ability.

If we did more critical thinking we would be inclined to...