Critical Thinking Skills
Read these four tutorials on critical thinking. As you read, compare the abilities that a person acquires after becoming a critical thinker with your own goals as a student, as well as with your future career and life goals.
What is Critical Thinking?
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. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following:
- understand the logical connections between ideas;
- identify, construct and evaluate arguments;
- detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning;
- solve problems systematically;
- identify the relevance and importance of ideas;
- reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values.
Critical thinking is not a matter of accumulating information. A person with a good memory and who knows a lot of facts is not necessarily good at critical thinking. A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself.
Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions.
Some people believe that critical thinking hinders creativity because it requires following the rules of logic and rationality, but creativity might require breaking rules. This is a misconception. Critical thinking is quite compatible with thinking "out-of-the-box",
challenging consensus and pursuing less popular approaches. If anything, critical thinking is an essential part of creativity because we need critical thinking to evaluate and improve our creative ideas.
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§2. The future of critical thinking
In January 2016, the World Economic Forum issued a report "The Future of Jobs". It says:
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labour markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.
The top three skills that supposed to be most relevant are thinking skills related to critical thinking, creativity, and their practical application.Try to predict the top 10 skills in 2020.
Source: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, https://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/ct.php
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