There are parts to thinking, and the only way to ensure that we are thinking well is to take command of these components. To make sense of things, to draw conclusions on the basis of reasons, is reasoning. Reasoning features as figuring out what to eat for breakfast, what to wear, which way to follow to work. Evident from, we can draw conclusions about ourselves, others, anything; events, poems, social settings. To reason well and make better decisions, we must make our thinking conscious. On this, how to improve your critical thinking skills rests.
How to improve your critical thinking skills starts you not only noticing, but analysing and evaluating your reasoning, to maximise your learning. Here it spotlights.
1. Buckle Up And Think To Some Purpose
To direct our thinking to an end, to think relevantly to the purpose that initiated the thinking is to think logically and effectively. In essence, all thinking pursues a purpose. We think to accomplish something; goals, desires, needs, values. Clear with, to understand not only someone’s thinking, but also our own, helps us to understand the functions they serve. What are the thoughts about? In which direction are they moving? What purposes makes sense of them? Being conscious of our purpose keeps us from pursuing contradictory ends that sabotage our fulfillment.
Along with, the purposes we pursue influences our point of view, the way we see the world. In return, our perspective influences our purposes. For instance, a hairdresser’s view of herself and the world is more intimately connected with looking good and helping others look good. Looking good might naturally seem more significant to her than it might to, say, most janitors. Her purpose in promoting beauty arises from her perspective or point of view.
2. Put In To Take Command Of Concepts
To think about something, we have to conceptualise it in some way. Once we conceptualise a thing, we integrate it into a network of ideas, since no concept stands alone. We tend to approach virtually everything in our experience as something to be decoded or given meaning by the power of our minds. As we conceptualise, we make inferences on the basis of it, and create further conceptualizations.
Moving ahead with, we often experience the world not as nameless, but as if things are given to us with their name inherent in it. In consequence, we see trees, grasses, roads, clouds, sunset, children. To take command of our thinking, we must become masters of our own conceptualizations. Developing the ability to remove this or that concept from the things named by that concept helps us to improve as critical thinkers.
The Word Is Not The Thing
In line with, heed the semanticist’s call, “the word is not thing.” In support of, allowing yourself to be trapped in one set of concepts, ideas or words, means you can think of things only in one way. In your mind, word and thing become one and the same. Distinct to, from achieving a true command of the proper use of words, we get to figuring out the proper use of words to conceptualise events, things, situations, emotions, abstract ideas. For instance, there is a difference between “needing” and “wanting; “having judgement and being judgemental.”
Further with, the aptitude to make these kinds of distinctions significantly influences how we interpret our experiences. It keeps us from confusing important discriminations and distorting the important realities they help us to distinguish. As critical thinkers, we need to strip off surface language and consider alternative ways of talking and thinking about things. As you do this, you begin to account for how to improve your critical thinking skills.
3. Root Your Thinking In Information
To find trustworthy sources of information and carefully interpret experiences, feature as important goals of critical thinking. In the wake of, critically analyse and assess your experiences to unearth any bias or delusion. In plain, our experiences are not sacred in any way. They are just dimensions of thought to be examined.
Nature Of Information
To add to, our minds can take in information through three distinct ways. Oftentimes, we memorise factoids or inert information which is not understood well enough to be used by the mind. Critical thinkers transform inert information into something meaningful by analysis.
Next, to take into the mind and actively use information that is false, though we mistakenly think it true remains activated ignorance. In activated ignorance, we believe we understand things, events, situations, people, we do not. Needless pain, suffering, loss, waste, frequently result from our acting on false ideas, illusions and misconceptions. Therefore, it is wise to question our beliefs.
Following on, the disposition to take in and actively use information that is true, that when insightfully understood leads to greater knowledge, spotlights as activated knowledge. We gain activated knowledge by reflecting on the most basic ideas in a field. Applying activated knowledge to our experiences primes us to infer more knowledge. To ground ourselves in basic concepts and principles, starts us experiencing, in unison, the power of thought, knowledge, and experience. When we seek the logic of things, we begin to discover activated knowledge.
4. Vamp Up To Distinguish Between Inferences And Assumptions
An inference remains an intellectual act by which we conclude that something is true, based on something else being true, or seemingly to be true. Inferences can be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, justified or unjustified. On the other hand, assumptions stand as something we take for granted or presuppose. Else, it hallmarks as something we previously learned but did not question. It forms part of our system of beliefs, beliefs we assume to be true and use to interpret the world about us. Justified or unjustified, beliefs, and hence assumptions, can be.
Questioning Our Assumptions
Notion from, every now and then, we use our beliefs as assumptions, and make inferences based on those assumptions. Doing this allows us to make sense of where we are, what we are about, and what is happening. Judgements, interpretations, conclusions, arise from our beliefs. Making inferences levers us into understanding, a basis for action. For instance, to see dark clouds starts us inferring rain. A friend arriving late, we infer she is inconsiderate. Our inferences are often quick and automatic, and heavily influenced by our point of view or beliefs, and assumptions we have made of people and situations.
Insight to note with, to broaden our outlook, we need to see situations from multiple points of view, and become more open-minded. In this, improving our critical thinking skills touches on noticing the inferences we make, the assumptions supporting those inferences, and the point of view about the world we are developing. This stimulates us to question the extent to which any one of our assumptions is justified.
Again, as we improve our skill of reconstructing the inferences we make, so that the various ways in which we interpret our experiences through our inferences becomes clearer, we stand to separate the raw data of our experience from our interpretation of those data. Advantage to, we put ourselves in a good position to question the validity or soundness of one of our assumptions. From here, ideas of how to improve your critical thinking skills gains strength.
5. Think Through Significant Implications, Situations, Problems, Decisions
In specific situations, as critical thinkers, we strive to infer only what is being implied. As we use language, we aim to be aware of what we are implying. Also, when others are communicating verbally or in writing, we design to logically figure out what they are implying. Furthermore, being aware of what we are precisely implying, stimulates us to weigh its reasonableness. When what we say equates to what we mean, we honour our integrity.
Maximising Positive Consequences
In addition, to act accordingly, we need to study the logic of things, to prime ourselves to recognise implications. Critical thinking galvanises us to think through all the possible, probable, and inevitable implications of a decision, before acting on it. As we make sound inferences about these implications, we position ourselves to maximise positive consequences and keep down negative ones. In plain, we take advantage of all possibilities inherent in a situation.
Comprehension from, habitually driving your car exposes you to a possible implication: you may have an accident. Aside from, drinking heavily and driving very fast on a crowded road, in a rainy day, opens you to a probable implication: you will have an accident. Clear of, a situation where all your brake fluids drain out while you are driving fast on a major highway, and the vehicle in front suddenly stops, makes you vulnerable to an inevitable or necessary implication: you will have an accident.
6. Press Ahead By Thinking Across Points Of View
Culture, religion, gender, profession, peer group, economic interests, emotional state, social role, age group, all feature as potential sources of our point of view. As individuals, our dominant point of view reflects some combinations of these dimensions.
What is more, we become more effective and reasonable thinkers, as we become aware of our own point of view and those of others, and expose them to understanding. Learning to think within more than one point of view, unshackles our mind for greater productivity. Likewise, when we see all beliefs as subject to change in the face of new evidence or better reasoning, when we don’t see opposing points of view as threats to our own beliefs, we become lifelong learners. Clearly, lifelong learning underlies the notions of how to improve your critical thinking skills.
To command our thinking is to command our behaviour. Forward from, how to improve your critical thinking skills sets you agoing, analysing your thinking accurately, to become more open-minded and reasonable, make better decisions, and become more effective.
1. Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Critical Thinking: Learn The Tools The Best Thinkers Use (New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006).