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Critical thinking requires that you whether your thinking is reasonable, and whether your beliefs are true.It's no good knowing the principles of logic and evidence if you aren't committed to using them to seek the truth.
Like most stills, critical thinking takes practice and dedication as well as knowledge.
It's like chess: the basic rules are simple enough, but it takes years to master the game. Here's an example: If you click on the second image in this blog, it's obvious that the table on the left is longer than the one on the right. The top surface of both tables are exactly the same shape and size, just rotated (get out a ruler if you want proof--I did).
Someone who knows all the principles of reasoning, but can't be bothered to use them--or worse, uses them in dishonest ways--isn't a good critical thinker.
Similarly, someone who knows the rules of logic, but doesn't have any skill in applying them (Glaser's third trait), isn't a good critical thinker either.
As the physicist Richard Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." The psychologist Edward Glaser defined critical thinking in terms of three traits: 1.
An "attitude of being disposed" to think critically. "Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning". "Some skill in applying those methods." Notice that the first thing he mentioned isn't knowledge, but attitude.
Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies: The Enemies of Reason Many people assume that good thinking is something that comes naturally, but psychologists, logicians, and a brief glance at a You Tube comment section say otherwise. It's a powerful optical illusion that tricks our brains into thinking one table is longer and thinner than the other, and it's just one of dozens of illusions that keep us all from seeing the world as it really is.
Psychologists have also identified many confirmation bias, which causes us to seek out confirming evidence for things we want to believe, while ignoring evidence for things we don't.
Most of us are also guilty of committing from time to time.
One fallacy that's always popular on social media and talk radio is the ad hominem fallacy (Latin for "to the person"), where people focus on personal characteristics of the person making the argument, rather than the logic of the argument itself.