3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on Critical Thinking
Pseudo-Critical Thinking, Fallacy Fallacy & Being a Great Student
I. Pseudo-Critical Thinking
In order to understand the elusive concept of critical thinking, it can help to recognise what it is not. Former intelligence analyst David T. Moore explains:
Critical thinking, as has been noted, focuses on both the process and the results of reasoning. However, the term is also used in reference to reasoning that is not reflective. The application of formal logic is sometimes (incorrectly) equated to critical thinking. So too are problem solving and structured methods of analysis.
Developers of school curricula and other exponents of “sound thinking” often lay claim to the mantel of critical thinking but are really leveraging their coverage of logic or problem solving to capitalize on an uncritical understanding of what critical thinking is.
Problem solving, for example, focuses on answers and not on the process by which an answer is obtained. Additionally, logic or problem solving, being goal oriented, offer little means by which a person can improve the process of her thinking.
—David T. Moore, Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis
On a similar note, check out my post with 5 Books on Critical Thinking to Help You Develop a Reflective Mind
II. Fallacy Fallacy
The Fallacy Fallacy is committed when someone considers a claim to be false for the sole reason that it contains a fallacy.
For example, I might argue that too much sugar is bad for your health. Why? Because I had an uncle once removed who died of diabetes. This argument from anecdote is not exactly air-tight. But my sugary conclusion can still be true.
In case you’re interested, I recently wrote about informal fallacies worth knowing and avoiding.
III. Being a Great Student
On a final note, here’s a quote attributed to Richard Feynman on the relationship between the process of thinking and its outcome:
The difference between a good student and a great one is that a good student is concerned more about the outcome while a great one is fascinated by the process of learning.
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Have a great week,