What thoughts come to your mind about the idea of critical thinking? Do you wonder how the word “critical” relates to “criticism?” Much of the time, the word criticism has a negative connotation. Does this mean that critical thinking is negative thinking?
Consider this Definition of Criticism for Students from Merriam-Webster:
- the act of finding fault. His criticism of her decision made her stop and rethink the plan.
- a remark that expresses disapproval I had only one criticism about his work.
- a careful judgment or review especially by a person whose job is to judge the value, worth, beauty, or quality of something.
These three definitions demonstrate the difference between thinking of criticism as negative — as “the act of finding fault” or “expresses disapproval”— and thinking of criticism as “careful judgment.”
The root meaning of the words critical, criticism, and crisis comes from the Greek word kritikos, which means being able to make judgments. Kritikos is derived from the word krinein, which means to separate or decide. The essential meaning of each of these words goes back to the ability to separate.
The essence of critical thinking is the ability to separate truth from lies, good from bad, important from trivial. In other words, you are able to make reasoned judgments about whatever you experience in life.