Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is defined as a process in which individuals recognize and consider the assumptions that undergird their thoughts and actions. The list which follows provides you with a series of goals which will help you in developing your critical thinking skills as you participate in this course.

What is the purpose of my thinking?
What precise question am I trying to answer?
Within what point of view am I thinking?
What information am I using?
How am I interpreting that information?
What concepts or ideas are central to my thinking?
What conclusions am I coming to?
What am I taking for granted, what assumptions am I making?
If I accept the conclusions, what are the implications?
What would the consequences be, if I put my thoughts into action?

Here are some goals of critical thinking:
• to recognize the difference between fact and opinion
• to recognize error
• to know one’s own attitudes and values
• to know one’s own mental habits
• to become honest with one’s self
• to express a personal point of view
• to resist manipulation
• to overcome confusion
• to ask questions
• to base judgement on evidence
• to balance one’s thinking
• to look for connections between subjects
• to become intellectually independent
• to use appropriate structure from other theories or disciplines
• to evaluate the assumptions that undergird your thoughts and actions
• to view the assumptions that inform your ideas and actions from a variety of alternatives and perspectives
• to realize that your ideas are not the ultimate in indisputable truth and that there may be valid alternatives