Critical thinking has been defined as the intellectually disciplined process which entails actively and skillfully
The generated and gathered information from
As a means to serve as a guide to action or belief
The Two Components of Critical Thinking
- Set of belief and information generation and processing skills
- Habit with its root in intellectual commitment for using these skills to guide behavior
In a simple manner critical thinking can be thought of as a self-disciplined, self-monitored, self-corrective and self-guided thinking which is aimed at reasoning at the highest level of quality but most importantly in a fair-minded way. Therefore, people who are critical thinkers make a constant attempt to think reasonably, rationally and empathically.
Similarly, these individuals are also aware of and familiar with the inherent flawed nature of the human thinking process once it is left unchecked and unaddressed. Our thinking when left unaddressed is but prejudiced, irrational, uninformed, partial, distorted and biased.
Critical thinkers thus take all this in account and thus improve the quality of his/her thinking by analyzing, assessing and reconstructing it. Similarly, these people develop the ability to think in more clear and rational terms and are thus better able to understand the logical connections which exist between ideas. These people besides being active learners engage in reflective and independent thinking.
One of the integral features of critical thinkers is that these people believe in challenging and questioning conventionality, assumptions, ideas, norms and rules instead of accepting these at their face value.
Situations, Events and Circumstances Affect the Critical Thinking Process
It is important to recognize and admit that none of us can think rationally all the time. However, situations, events and circumstances all have an impact on our thinking process. Anger, grief, joy, prejudices, pre-conceived notions or any other overwhelming emotion can affect or cloud our thinking process.
Critical thinking can thus be thought of as a continuous process which requires continuous learning and overcoming the challenges associated with the critical thinking process.