Critical Thinking Application Essay

1224 words - 5 pages

Even though there are various situations in which to apply critical thinking, critical thinkers in general start with identifying the problem then analyze the facts intellectually by asking questions, absorbing the questions, and stewing over the facts and information provided. They consider other interpretations, tolerate ambiguity by examining evidence, and analyze assumptions and biases. They draw their conclusions based on their fair- mindedness and demonstrate integrity and intellectual courage. Critical thinkers think in a higher level of thought processes that requires several important traits of fair-mindedness to assess a situation adequately and act based on the derived decision they make. To be fair-minded is to strive to treat every viewpoint relevant to a situation in an unbiased, unprejudiced way. It entails a consciousness of the fact that we, by nature, tend to prejudge the views of others, placing them into "favorable" (agrees with us) and "unfavorable" (disagrees with us) categories (Paul & Elder, 2001, p. 6). In order to analyze the importance of critical thinking to the decision making process, we have to look closely at these seven traits below as stated in Chapter 1 (pages 6-20) of Paul & Elders' (2001) Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life.The first two traits are intellectual humility which is to develop knowledge of the extent of one's own ignorance and intellectual courage which is facing and fairly addressing ideas, beliefs, or viewpoints by closely examining these beliefs toward which one has strong negative emotions and to which one has not been given a serious hearing. Another trait of fair-mindedness covered in Chapter 1 is intellectual empathy which is to put oneself imaginatively in the place of others on a routine basis in order to genuinely understand them.The fourth and fifth traits seem to work closely together as described by Paul & Elders (2001). Intellectual integrity, the fourth trait, is the strive to be true to one's own disciplined thinking and holding oneself to the same standards that one expects others to meet which requires honestly admitting discrepancies and inconsistencies in one's own thought and action and identifying inconsistencies within one's own thinking. Whereas, the fifth trait is intellectual perseverance which is, in order to achieve understanding or insight, the disposition to work one's way through intellectual complexities of complicated tasks by firmly adhering to rational principles despite the natural tendency to go with first impressions and simple answers while entailing a realistic sense of the need to struggle with confusion and unsettled questions over an extended time.Confidence in reason, as the sixth trait described in Chapter 1, is when one's way of thinking is moved by reason in appropriate ways by using good reasoning as the fundamental criterion by which to judge whether to accept or reject any belief or position. Good...

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