Bits Of Knowledge

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Critical Thinking: the importance of questionning

Written By: Corina Ciechanow - Aug• 31•13

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Critical thinking is the ability to gather and assess evidence and information, and use clear reasoning methods to reach justified conclusions. It  also implies to evaluate our thoughts, and learn to refine our thinking process.  It is a key skill in the information age, valuable in all disciplines, professions and domains.  Now that accessibility to information is not an issue, it becomes easier to apply a critical thinking process in order to reach the best solution to a problem or to take an informed decision.  Moreover, even if accessing information is not an issue, data overflow is, so the steps of evaluating informatio, for instance based on its credibility and relevance, are crucial.

Despite its advantages, the explicit teaching of critical thinking is not widespread.   The pace of change in our world is accelerating, things are becoming increasingly interdependents and complex. Learning to think critically is each time more a survival need if we want to be able to take informed decisions and steer the changes that will shape our future. We should rise awareness about it to make it popular and embrace it as a core social value.
Critical Thinking can be applied in any learning situation. At school, at work in front of any business decision, and also in the context of our democratic societies, in order to select the right political candidate.

I have to admit, after each election, I sometimes (usually) complain: ‘why people don’t think?’ (let’s read: why don’t they see the world as I do?). Obviously I know that  critically thinkers may vote different from me :- ) but even knowing that, I would be happy if I knew they did think of all the issues before voting. So I decided to prepare a seminar on critical thinking, and I will try to deliver it to as many people as I can : – ) This is my ‘holiday resolution’.

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One Comment

  1. Dave Barry says:

    I found this interesting logic, which Socrates have used in one of his conversations per the quote below. What do you think?

    In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?

    “Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

    “Triple filter?!”

    “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student, let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

    “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

    “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

    “No, on the contrary…”

    “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

    The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

    Socrates continued. “You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

    “No, not really…”

    “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”

    The man was defeated and ashamed.

    This is the reason Socrates was considered a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

    A Human Life By Munish Bansal