Idea of Critical Thinking

Essay by ZildjianCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2005

download word file, 2 pages 4.5

The world is paining through a troublesome era. While a few are stubbornly fighting against the nearly intangible enemy that is terrorism, others are suffering. The question is whom should we trust, and who is doing the right thing? What about George W. Bush and his greedy friends? To be well-informed and capable of holding our own opinion in the middle of all this mischief comes down to one essential quality: critical thinking.

Sometimes, we receive faulty or biased information. Thus, there needs to be a filter in our thinking that stops this bad information from affecting our judgment towards a manipulated opinion. To me, that filter is the essence of critical thinking. With the help of the knowledge and understanding of fallacies, someone is well-armed to overcome prejudice, illogic deductions and biased information. Critical thinking is to seek all the viewpoints of a given problem before coming to a conclusion.

It is to require the original sources before assuming the truth of a statement or fact. Also, it consists of separating our immediate feelings from our thinking, in a way that will keep our reasoning to pure logic. Take for example the news media. In TV shows like 'Cops' and most crime news coverage, it has been proven that Africans Americans are seen as outlaws far more often than any other ethnicity. From seeing a majority of criminals being African American on television, people with weak critical thinking may falsely deduct that all of them are evil. The reasoning goes as follows: criminals are evil and most African Americans are criminals, so most African Americans are evil. A person with stronger critical thinking will be able to see the big picture, thus being conscious that not all criminals are Africans Americans and not all African Americans are criminals.

In another perspective, creative thinking is an essential quality for good argumentation. It defines whether a statement is logical or illogical. Sometimes, people tend to use easy arguments, which are nearly impossible to respond to, but that are not funded and illogical. Someone armed with a good sense of critical thinking will be able to use those statements as an asset. Take the example of the exploitation of the poor due to world trade. Someone with weak critical thinking may say: corporations exploit the poor countries and world trade is ruled by corporations, so world trade exploits the poor countries. An opponent with strong critical thinking may simply break the first premise by saying that some corporations exploit the poor countries while others are very human and offer great opportunities to workers from all over the world. Making a deduction from this would mean that world trade offers great opportunities, but once again this is an incomplete fallacy, since some corporations do exploit the poor countries.

Finally, I think that being a critical thinker has a sense of self-discipline. People who think in a critical way seek the truth and expect more from themselves, so in my opinion they are the ones who tend to reach higher. Choosing the easy way just because it has no immediate consequences shows no critical thinking at all. On the other hand, to challenge ourselves constantly and be true to our goals is the best way to become a critical thinker. Critical thinking is more than knowing about fallacies; it's a philosophy and an attitude.