How have your beliefs been shaped from birth?
Write for 2 minutes.
What is Critical Thinking?
Quality of Thinking, Quality of Life
Critical thinking, in a rich sense of the term, is self-guided disciplined thought that attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fairminded way.
From our textbook.
Critical comes from the Greek word krinein, meaning “to separate, to choose”; above all, it implies conscious inquiry (4).
Conscious also means to be awake or aware. This suggests that by examining our reasoning, we can understand the basis of our judgments and decisions – ultimately, so that we can make better ones.
According to Google:
Critical Thinking – the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.
According to our textbook, to think critically, you must question not only the beliefs and assumptions of others, but also one’s own beliefs and assumptions (5).
- Identify important problems.
- Explore relevant issues.
- Evaluate available evidence.
- Consider the implications of the decisions.
Critical thinking is NOT collecting information to support established conclusion.
- Survey, considering as many perspectives as possible.
- Analyze, identifying and then separating out the parts of the problem.
- Evaluate, judging the merit of various ideas, claims, and evidence.
Why is it important?
Issue: Gay Marriage Licenses
In a 2015 case from Kentucky, Kim Davis refused to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Who has a say in the matter? What is affected by this issue?
Let’s work on the first questions on page 8.
Identifying and Examining Assumptions
What assumptions do you see in this issue?
“Most of us assume whatever we believe to be “right.” Though we were taught much of what we believe before we could critically analyze our beliefs, we nevertheless defend out beliefs as the truth” (Elder and Paul).
Ignorance – lack of knowledge or information.
Intellectual Arrogance – the tendency to confidently assert as true what you do not in fact know to be true.
Intellectual Humility – awareness of the extent of your ignorance.
People with a high degree of intellectual humility understand that there is far more that they will never know that they will ever know (Elder and Paul).
- Acknowledge that you may be wrong, until you find sufficient evidence to prove your belief.
- Notice when you argue if you are justifying your beliefs. Do you have evidence?
- Question your beliefs, especially religious, cultural, or political.
- Research from multiple perspectives.
- Explore new beliefs.
Identify weaknesses in your thinking.
- What do I truly know?
- Are my prejudices and biases influencing my thinking?
- What beliefs have I accepted without critical thinking?
What is a problem, local, personal, or national, that you would like to write about? Come up with a few.
Lets go over the proposal prompt for the first essay.
Obstacles to Critical Thinking
- The topic is too controversial.
- The topic hits “too close to home.” Personal experience with topic.
- The topic disgusts you.
Lets come up with a big list of problems we can possibly write about.
The proposal asks that we define a problem and come up with a solution that we can implement to the problem. It is important in critical thinking to think thought the decisions. If you come up with a solution, you have to think of the implications it will have. Will it lead to problems in the future? While we may not be able to predict with certainty if it will cause problems, we can think through it and anticipate some possible negative outcomes.
Begin researching the problem you are thinking of writing about. Find at least one source to use for your first essay that helps you to define the problem.
Do not assume that the problem is real! Question your assumptions and find proof from a reliable source.