Promoting Critical Thinking


No matter what the endeavor, critical thinking advances both individual and societal well-being, success, and progress. Other forms of “thinking” are impediments. 


How do we define critical thinking and identify other forms of “thinking”?


  1. Critical thinking:  the objective analysis and evaluation of information; the ability to understand the logical connection of facts, past experience, and ideas and to make rational judgments and decisions based on that understanding.
  1. Wishful thinking: thoughts based on what is pleasing to imagine and hope for rather than based on considering evidence, rationality, and reality.
  1. Magical thinking: the belief that one’s own thoughts influence the external world to create order where none exists, thus ascribing a causal relationship between thoughts and events (often manifested by a conspiracy mentality.)
  1. Muddled thinking: a confused or illogical approach to processing information and ideas without benefit of  rationality and reality.
  1. Group think: a conformist, sometimes dogmatic approach to formulating thoughts motivated by peer pressure rather than inquiry, skepticism, dissent, and rational evaluation.

Critical thinking demands:


  1. Facts not faith
  2. Scientific findings not anecdotal stories
  3. Sound information not specious notions
  4. Logical problem-solving not guesses
  5. Openness to new ideas not a fixed mindset
  6. Inquiry and skepticism not conformity and dogma
  7. Clear delineation of what is known and what is not
  8. Careful synthesis and objective analysis of information not off–the–cuff pronouncements

Critical thinking is a vital tool to discredit irrational beliefs and falsehood and to allow science, logic, and reason to inform us and help us set a sound course for a better future. ACT