Critical Thinking Tools And Techniques Essay

1385 words - 6 pages

Critical Thinking Tools and TechniquesWhat is Critical Thinking? Merriam-Webster (2004) defines thinking as: the action of using one's mind to produce thought. Although when trying to define "Critical" thinking, you have to take it even further. Critical thinking is a process that your mind has to go through to produce that thought. Critical thinking can be defined as being able to examine and issue by breaking it down, and evaluating it in a conscious manner, while providing arguments/evidence to support the evaluation (Unknown, 2004). .Within this paper I will address the how and why critical thinking is so important in our everyday lives.Asking questions and using the answers to understand the world around us is what drives critical thinking. There are eight characteristics of critical thinking, perception, assumption, emotion, language, argument, fallacy, logic and problem solving (Wade 1995).Perception is the way we view and understand things. How we look at them. We will not have the total view of things if we do not question them. Using questioning, we sharpen our perception of the event. Perception is not always reality; it is formed around past experience and available resources. Influences of those around us also effect our perception. Merriam-Webster (2004) defines perception to be knowledge by the senses and/or intellect by the mind of what is presented to it. Perception therefore, can be both physical and intellectual.Tools and Techniques 3Assumptions are evaluations or generalizations influenced by values and based on observing cause and effect (Carter, Bishop, Lyman, 2002 pg. 100). They can often hide within truthful statements. An assumption can influence yourchoices and many people don't question whether their assumptions make sense. Assumptions can be learned from many sources such as parents, educators, the media and personal experiences. They can close you're your mind to opportunities and even cause harm (Carter, et all, pg 100). Using your critical thinking you must analyze them to be true or false. We must learn to see and think without assumptions, stereotypes, or expectations.Emotion and personal feelings are often referred to as barriers to critical thinking. They do have the ability to "bury, twist, and fragment the thinking process" (Kirby & Goodpaster, 1999, p. 30). However, these same emotions and feelings are a necessary part of the critical thinking process. "Thinking without feeling is often cold and sterile" (Kirby, p. 291). In order to use feelings to an advantage versus a disadvantage, a person must become aware of the feelings that exist about a topic or situation. Rather than view feeling and emotions as barriers to critical thinking, use them as a positive force to empower creative thought.Language plays a critical role in our thinking. Without it most of our thinking would not be possible. (Kirby and Goodpaster, p. 94 (1999). We can still use our critical thinking skills by using the images in our mind...

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