Critical thinking and decision-making

Essay by anthony0918University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2003

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Critical Thinking

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.

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.

The readings definition covers all the main aspects of critical thinking quite clearly. If I were to sum up critical thinking in one word, it would be open-mindedness.

An example of changing ones views using critical thinking can be demonstrated by events at the VA. An email was recently distributed saying that all employees must have direct deposit of their paychecks. No explanation was given for the process change. The current climate at my company has been one of, reorganization, the resulting low morale and employee paranoia.

Using critical thinking skills on the above example allows an employee to set aside emotion and focus on potential corporate reasoning. After investigation and discussions with middle management, it turns out that it would save...