What is critical and logical thinking

Module 2: Critical Thinking

We all think and do it all the time. The quality of our life depends on our thoughts and the way we think, the choices we have made, the way we see and interpret reality.

But often our thinking is biased, prejudiced, skewed, or based on incomplete information. When we do not have a complete and clear view of a situation, topic or piece of news, we can adopt a different perspective that can influence many aspects of our actions.

Critical thinking is a habit of the mind that must be nurtured from childhood. Schools and teachers need to help students develop their ability to respond to ideas and get them used to being active participants rather than passive recipients of information.

Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions instead of taking them at face value. They will always try to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the bigger picture and are open to the fact that they do not.

The basic unit of justification is an argument.

In the context of "logic" or critical thinking, the word "reasoning" does not refer to a heated discussion or "struggle" between people.

An argument is the linguistic representation of a thinking “step” or action (called a conclusion) in which one accepts a statement as true (the conclusion) on the basis of assuming other statements to be true (the premise).

Arguments are often found in newspaper offices and opinion columns, as well as in magazine articles.

A critical thinker is able to understand and analyze arguments on a given subject and determine whether they are logically "good" and whether a rational person should be convinced when he hears them. The ability to evaluate an argument enables us not only to passively accept the opinions and ideas of others, but it enables us to analytically, independently and consciously develop our own point of view.

In this module we will analyze what an argument is, how it is constructed, and how it can be analyzed and evaluated. In addition, the module also analyzes how our own thought processes can not always be rational, but rather biased, even unconscious. Biased discourses are not intentionally used by politics or advertising to easily convince people of ideas and opinions by appealing to the less rational thought processes.

Being aware of the bias in our way of thinking and learning to recognize and uncover it in the communication strategies that are being used around us in order to make a discourse more convincing is a fundamental step in critical thinking.