1. What is critical thinking?

by anyarchitectanyarchitect on 1220347011|%e %B %Y
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Critical thinking is that which yields clear, unbiased knowledge to any observer. It leads to knowledge as opposed to just beliefs or opinions. The knowledge obtained by critical thinking is supported by empirical and/or rational evidence.

Think of a flagpole being erected.

If it is erected all by itself; there is no support for the flagpole and a wind from any direction will topple it. One may even need someone around to hold the flagpole in place. Hence, there should be an effort to tie the flagpole down using guy-wires. Often just one guy-wire may be insufficient. Wind coming from some other directions will still topple the flagpole. Hence multiple guy-wires are required. One ought to introduce only as many guy-wires as needed. Too many would make the structure resource intensive and prone to suspicion and hidden meanings.

Analogously; in the case of critical thinking, the flagpole is the knowledge that is presented to any observer. The guy-wires are the various arguments that are presented to support the knowledge. Multiple arguments (from different directions) should be presented so that the knowledge is clearly convincing. Just like one would not need a person to keep the flagpole in place (once it is tied down using the correct amound of guy-wires), one would not need a personality to be around to support the fruits of critical thinking. They can stand on their own using the supporting arguments. The act of building knowledge by erecting the "flagpole" in such a manner can be called critical thinking.

There are many devices to communicate critical thought. Critical thinking should be applied even to the communication methods, lest those colour the thought itself. For example; in the above definition the device of an analogy is used ("flagpole", etc.) for the definition. Unless the reader is forewarned that analogies do have deficiencies, the definition may end up being a poor piece of critical thought as multiple "guy-wires" were not laid out. More on this later…

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