Perspectives on Critical Thinking focuses on how you can change your perspectives on any topic by analyzing how you think about that topic. Critical thinking is not about being negative but about being willing to analyze how you think about a problem.
What’s the Problem?
The first problem is that the word “critical” has more than one meaning. One definition means “negative” and refers to negative judgments and comments. Another definition refers to an analysis of the merits and faults of something.
The second problem is that most of us never learned how to think critically. In his book, The Thinker’s Way, John Chaffee makes this statement:
Critical thinkers are people who have developed thoughtful and well-founded beliefs
that guide their choices in every area of their lives.
The key idea in all of this concerns beliefs. It’s not enough to claim that something is true because you believe it’s true. You can’t think critically if you don’t examine your beliefs. This means that critical thinking requires careful consideration of your beliefs.
Chaffee continues his statement about thinking critically with these words:
In order to develop the strongest and most accurate beliefs possible,
you need to become aware of your own biases,
explore situations from many different perspective,
and develop sound reason to support your point of view.
The Life-Changing Question
How would your life change if you choose to live your life from the perspective of a critical thinker?
Why would you bother to learn how to think critically? History tells us that Socrates claimed that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Although your life is worth living whether or not you learn to think critically, critical thinking will change your perspectives on what you believe about yourself and your life.
Critical thinking requires you to be self-guided and disciplined as you look at your problems from many different perspectives.
It challenges your snap judgments, emotional reactions, prejudices, and long-held beliefs.
It teaches you to identify biases, distortions, and half-baked rumors.
It leads you to consider contrary claims about what you have always believed to be true.
As you examine your thinking and change your perspectives, your life will become happier and more peaceful as you replace your worry and stress with critical thinking. You will also discover that your life will be less of an ordeal and more of an exhilarating experience of being alive.
The life changing question is: Are you willing to examine your beliefs critically?
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