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What is Critical Thinking?

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

What is critical thinking? Critical thinking is "thinking about thinking". It is a way of deciding if a claim is true, false, or sometimes true and sometimes false, or partly true and partly false. It can be split into two important areas, Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Bias.

  • A cognitive bias is when someone makes a bad choice that they think is a good choice.

  • A fallacy is a misleading argument that might sound true and may even be based on truth, but is in fact false.

Why is critical thinking important?

Critical thinking is something that everyone can do, often people are not taught about the benefits of critical thinking:

  • Critical thinking is key to success in your career

  • Critical thinkers make better decisions

  • Critical thinking can make you happier

  • Critical thinking ensures your opinions are well informed

  • Critical thinking improves relationships

  • Critical thinking makes you a better citizen

Where can you use critical thinking?

The best place to use critical thinking skills is in your everyday life. When you go out to buy something. When someone tells you something they claim is a fact. What you hear in the news and on social media. It can help you save money by avoiding scams.

Who uses critical thinking?

We can all use critical thinking, it’s something we may not know how to do at the moment, but once we do know how to do it, you will wonder how you could have lived your life without it.

To find out if someone is telling you the truth, one needs evidence.

What is evidence?

Evidence is something that is used to support an argument. It gives examples of why something is true.

To solve a problem, questions can be written as clearly and simply as possible, making certain that all terms are well understood by giving definitions if necessary. One of the problems is that different people can have different definitions for the words that they use. You can see the evidence for this statement by asking a group of people to write down the definitions of the following words:

  • Love

  • Fascism

You will find that everyone will write down different definitions for example "Love is a feeling" "Love is something you experience between two people that are attracted to each other" "Love is romance" or with regards to Fascism "Fascism is the black shirts from Italy" "Fascism is Hitler and Stalin" This experiment will demonstrate that people will attribute different definitions to words so that even if you are saying the same words, you may not be talking about the same thing.

You can always learn more about the problem of language by reading The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase, which you can buy a copy of from Amazon using the link. By using this link we will receive a referral fee. If you're keen to dive deeper into critical thinking, check out our course on cognitive biases. This course is a part of our initiative at Spaceship Earth to foster critical thinking skills. It's an engaging way to understand how our minds work and make better decisions. The course is free, and you can easily access it online. To start learning, simply visit our course on cognitive biases:

You can also always learn more about critical thinking by reading the following two books:

The synopsis of the book is as follows: "In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing."

The synopsis of the book is as follows: "How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channelling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms."

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