Critical thinking is an intellectually disciplined process of conceptualizing analyzing evaluating and applying information in an active and skillful manner. This information may have been obtained from or generated through experience reasoning, observation, reflection, or communication to guide one to a certain belief or presumed action. Critical thinking involves going-over structures or elements of thought contained in all reasoning which include purpose, problem, assumptions made, concepts to be implemented, consequences of certain actions and reasoning leading to various conclusions. Critical thinking involves other modes of thinking which include philosophical thinking, historical thinking, scientific thinking, economic thinking mathematical thinking, moral thinking, and anthropological thinking.
Critical thinking is seen as being made up of two main components, one of this being a group of facts and belief generating and processing skills while the other component is the practice, based upon ones intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide ones behavior. There fore critical thinking can be compared to the simple achievement and retention of information alone, because it involves a specific manner in which information is looked for and treated. It can further be compared to the possession and use of a set of skills without agreeing with the results obtained. Critical thinking diverges depending on the motivation underlying it. If it is based on selfish motives it is often demonstrated by skillful manipulation of thoughts to the benefit of the interest of an individual or a particular group. Due to this it contains typical intellectual flaws no matter how realistically successful such a process may be. On the other hand if it is based on fair-mindedness and intellectual integrity, it becomes of a higher intellectual order even though it may be subject to charge by people who have a habit of using it selfishly. Critical thinking comprises of a complex mixture of skills.
The major skills involved are Rationality and self awaresness.one is normally thinking critically when one relies on reason rather than emotions, when one requires evidence and ignores non existent evidence when one follows evidence to discover where it leads to, and is more concerned with finding a very good explanation and finally analyzing thoroughly any confusion by asking questions.one also is seen to be thinking critically when one weighs the influence of one motive and being bias, by recognizing ones own assumptions point of view andprejudices.
Honesty and open mindedness are also very important skills in critical thinking. One is seen to be thinking critically when one is able to recognize emotional impulses, nefarious purposes, selfish motives or any other types of self deception. Also one is seen to think clearly when one evaluates all inferences that are reasonable, considers a variety of perspectives or viewpoints possible remains open to any alternative interpretations by accepting any new model or explanation when it explains the evidence provided better or is simpler and has fewer inconsistencies.
Another set of important skills in critical thinking are seen in discipline and judgment.one is thinking critically when one is precise comprehensive avoids snap judgments and exhaustively resists manipulation and any irrational appeals. One is also seen to be thinking critically by the kinds of judgment one makes. When one recognizes the relevance and advantages of alternative ideas and assumptions likewise when one views the weight of the evidence and its extent in the matter being deliberated.
Critical thinking is actually self-guided and self-disciplined thinking, where one attempts to reason based on the highest level of quality at a fair-minded manner. Many persons who tend to think clearly normally attempt to live reasonably, empathically and rationally continuously. Such people have keen awareness of the way human thinking is naturally inherently flawed especially if left unchecked. As a result they try from time to time to reduce the powers of their egocentric tendencies. They tend to use the various concepts and principles of critical thinking when analyzing and performing assessments of real life situations. This finally tends to improve their thinking. These People work industriously to improve their intellectual virtues of integrity, l humility, civility, empathy, sense of justice and confidence when reasoning.
They get to know that even if they are greatly skilled as thinkers, they are still capable of improving their reasoning abilities for they sometimes may make mistakes in reasoning, behaving irrationally, prejudicing their fellow humans, being biased, distorting information, breaking taboos and having a lot of self and vested interests. Their main aim is to improve the world in every manner that they can by contributing to a more rational, civilized society. They also recognize the difficulties often associated with trying to doing so as such they evade simplistic thinking when it comes to complex matters by approppriately considering the needs and rights of others who are relevant. They know the difficulties that they face as developing thinkers making them to commit to life-long practices that are aimed toward self-improvement. They know that a life that is not examined not only is worthless but may result in a dangerous unjust and uncritical world.
A good example where critical thinking would have played a very important role is the case of many wars that occurred all over the world in the past. Many of which were usually caused by either simple discrimination or a common misunderstanding between two friendly nations. Given the case of a misunderstanding we see a case where while a certain message is being transmitted to another nation either by post or a messenger. The later may end up in the wrong hands and be distorted to give the wrong message or the messenger may forget the correct facts given that most of them travelled over long distances. Such messages upon delivery to the nation that they were destined to get to are received with very bad reactions the leaders of such nations instead of reflecting on the cause of such a message by exploring all the sectors of critical thinking because the other nation does not have any reason to send bad tidings. They instead mobilize up for a war with the other nation and inform them of their decision.
The other nation is also likely without reasoning about the main cause of the war at hand happily participate in it leading to the death of many innocent individuals. If on the other hand the first nation’s leaders had sat down and reasoned critically the most likely cause of the bad tidings from the other friendly nation then collect extensive evidence of the bad blood before finally seeking a proper solution of either asking for forgiveness or enquiring further then the would most likely have been no war. If on the case of the other nation had enquired on the reason of the war after some critical thinking then the lives of many people would have been saved. This is just a simple Case of the many tough situations that we place ourselves in in our day to day activities showing just how important critical thinking is to human interactions.
The various principles and concepts of critical thinking are easily applicable to any case or context but only after careful thought on the nature of such an application. Critical thinking forms the basis for reasonable solutions to many problems that human beings face. We all need to think critically for us to solve the many worldly problems by providing worldly solutions.