Author Topic: Explain critical thinking in simple terms  (Read 628 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline NateAus

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« on: March 01, 2019, 10:58:27 PM »
Hi everyone.

I'd like to hear your version of explaining what critical thinking is in simple terms. Imagine you're telling someone about it who's never heard of it or the skeptical movement before.

Thanks in advance!  :)

Offline Awatsjr

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 221
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 10:31:32 AM »
1. Is it supernatural based? Be skeptical
2. First time you've heard it? Be skeptical.
3. Already heard and rejected it? Listen for any new information and reject or continue investigation.

Pretty much it for me.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4656
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 10:47:35 AM »
IMO it is hard to define or nail down. I put into Google "what is critical thinking", and it suggested the following definition:

Quote
the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

One of the results from The University of Hong Kong has a good introductory article, and I'd recommend you to read it:

Quote
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

Though I feel that those definitions introduce new concepts that would in turn need to be explained.

Perhaps the most succint and "meaty" short explanation comes from Carl Sagan in Parade in 1987:

Quote
What is critical thinking? Basically, it's the ability to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and-especially important-to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premise or starting point.

(That Parade article is in itself an interesting look at the past of the skeptical movement a few decades back.)
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline JohnM

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 11:48:43 AM »
Hi everyone.

I'd like to hear your version of explaining what critical thinking is in simple terms. Imagine you're telling someone about it who's never heard of it or the skeptical movement before.

Thanks in advance!  :)

This is a good question. One of the debates in UK education circles is that one side says we should teach critical thinking (as 21st C means we don't need facts) vs the other saying CT is such a nebulous word that it's better to teach knowledge with which people can apply critically.

Offline daniel1948

  • Isn’t a
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8181
  • I'd rather be paddling
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2019, 05:02:41 PM »
IMO it is hard to define or nail down. I put into Google "what is critical thinking", and it suggested the following definition:

Quote
the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

One of the results from The University of Hong Kong has a good introductory article, and I'd recommend you to read it:

Quote
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

Though I feel that those definitions introduce new concepts that would in turn need to be explained.

Perhaps the most succint and "meaty" short explanation comes from Carl Sagan in Parade in 1987:

Quote
What is critical thinking? Basically, it's the ability to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and-especially important-to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premise or starting point.

(That Parade article is in itself an interesting look at the past of the skeptical movement a few decades back.)

^This.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline NateAus

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 03:44:16 AM »
IMO it is hard to define or nail down. I put into Google "what is critical thinking", and it suggested the following definition:

Quote
the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

One of the results from The University of Hong Kong has a good introductory article, and I'd recommend you to read it:

Quote
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

Though I feel that those definitions introduce new concepts that would in turn need to be explained.

Perhaps the most succint and "meaty" short explanation comes from Carl Sagan in Parade in 1987:

Quote
What is critical thinking? Basically, it's the ability to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and-especially important-to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premise or starting point.

(That Parade article is in itself an interesting look at the past of the skeptical movement a few decades back.)


Thank you Quetzalcoatl, I will check these out for sure.

I have a pretty good understanding of what critical thinking is, but finding ways to explain it in simple terms to someone else is always a good way to understand a thing better yourself.
Just as a simple explanation of what skepticism is can be helpful when someone asks "what is that?".

Offline Eternally Learning

  • Master Mr. a.k.a. Methodical Loaf
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9035
  • Break a leg, badger!
    • Get Past The 140 Character Limit!
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 04:52:05 AM »
In a nutshell, I would say it's the sincere attempt to understand and account for your deficiencies as a human being and person when forming new opinions or (re)evaluating old ones based on the principle that it's better to know an inconvenient or unpleasant truth than believe a comfortable or pleasant falsity.  More simply, I'd saying it's focusing on improving your process of learning above and beyond what you're learning.

Offline Billzbub

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4157
  • I know you know I know
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2019, 02:18:42 PM »
In a nutshell, I would say it's the sincere attempt to understand and account for your deficiencies as a human being and person when forming new opinions or (re)evaluating old ones based on the principle that it's better to know an inconvenient or unpleasant truth than believe a comfortable or pleasant falsity.  More simply, I'd saying it's focusing on improving your process of learning above and beyond what you're learning.

Agreed.  Critical thinking is recognizing that people are bad at perceiving the truth, and pursuing processes to learn the truth that minimize the effects of human flaws and biases.
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Offline NateAus

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 11:01:04 PM »
Great ideas Eternally Learning and Billzbub, thanks for weighing in!

I'd love to hear anyone else's interpretations.
Nate.

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8523
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2019, 11:42:15 PM »
One of the tools that we use to determine what's real and what isn't.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiarii?

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4656
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2019, 01:55:31 PM »
One of the tools that we use to determine what's real and what isn't.

That would just require additional explanation. It also doesn't say if it's a good way to determine what is real and what isn't. Augury is also a tool that was historically used to determine what is real and what isn't. It just isn't a very good tool.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8523
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Explain critical thinking in simple terms
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2019, 07:20:16 PM »
One of the tools that we use to determine what's real and what isn't.

That would just require additional explanation. It also doesn't say if it's a good way to determine what is real and what isn't. Augury is also a tool that was historically used to determine what is real and what isn't. It just isn't a very good tool.

Pretty much any pithy explanation would have the same drawbacks. That's just the nature of pithy explanations. But there's a reason you start with the elevator pitch.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiarii?

 

personate-rain