What is critical thinking? Definition and Examples
Critical thoughts are those capable of helping us make the best decisions, both in our personal and professional lives. Although not all people have this ability, or have developed it properly, critical thinking is a very important skill.
There are different skills like intercultural skills and entrepreneurial skills which are also developed.
Learn in our article not only a definition, but also important facts and examples that will make you an expert on the subject, as long as you decide to read to the end.
Definition of critical thinking
The definition of critical thinking is not unique, since there is one for each expert who has dealt with the subject. But here is a paraphrase of what Francis Bacon said in 1605 about it:
Critical thinking is to have the desire to seek, together with the patience to doubt, to be fond of meditating, slow enough to affirm, to possess the disposition to consider, the care to put in order, and the hatred of all manner of imposture.
If to what we expressed above we give a slightly more modern perspective we can affirm that critical thinking is understood as the capacity to analyze and evaluate the consistency of reasoning.
This is something that can be seen especially in those statements that society takes as true in the context of everyday life, as is the case of the dreaded fake news, and which are especially relevant today thanks to their proliferation and rapid viralization.
We give the example of fake news because they are individuals who come to adopt behaviors and ideas for the sole reason that a large majority of people do too. And the best known antidote to this is precisely learning to develop critical thinking.
What a critical thinker can do
Having a critical sense can help us to discern between mediocre and brilliant arguments, distinguishing also the valuable information from the dispensable. With it we can dismantle prejudices and find well-founded conclusions.
In addition, critical thinking teaches us to generate alternatives, to improve communication at all levels, and to be masters of our mind, acting accordingly.
And, although it is a cognitive activity that is closely related to reason, the purpose of critical thinking is action-oriented, becoming applicable to any aspect of our daily lives.
Once you have developed the skill you will be able to realize how aspects of your daily life are favored, as is the case of problem solving or decision making, having a sphere of influence ranging from personal to work.
What is the possibility of acquiring critical thinking skills?
The reality of the matter is that many experts believe that it is possible to acquire critical thinking, especially if the training begins during the school stage. Once adulthood is reached, everything can become a little more complicated.
However, in the case of adults, there are some attitudes that can help, such as the following:
Always analyze information in small doses. Finding the importance of details, as well as searching for nuances.
Practice curiosity and skepticism. It has to do with asking questions and being able to contrast the answers with others obtained from different sources.
Question everything we are told. This is a vitally important aspect, especially if we are always being told things that are in line with our own beliefs.
Examples of critical thinking
The examples of critical thinking that we will give you below will serve you to be applied in your day to day, and at the same time to train the ability you have when you encounter information in different ways.
Not trusting social networks
Not everything you find on social networks has to correspond to reality. In fact, they are platforms where misinformation, mocking sources, as well as fake profiles abound.
We live in an era that is hyper-connected, so any video, photo or headline has the ability to go viral in a matter of seconds. This leads to the need to pay special attention to the credibility of the information being published.
The intention is to always look for ways to contrast the data and statements that appear in them. For example, if you read a news item in a Facebook post without a link to an official website, Google the headline to get the details.
Do not believe everything companies tell us.
Although they will always say that they serve the welfare of their consumers, another of the best examples of critical thinking on a daily basis is not to blindly trust brands no matter how much we like them.
Many companies, and sometimes as part of their advertising strategies, may issue confusing, misleading or half-truth messages that consumers must be able to detect.
A current example is the scandal with Balenciaga and the pedophilia network that was publicized in their recent campaigns. At first glance the information they give is not malicious, but when comparing details with other sources we notice that the details are real.
Be aware of your state of mind
When it is time to make important decisions, it is always necessary to have a clear mind, as well as an adequate physical and emotional state where we are free of stress, anxiety, sadness, among other sensations.
When we are involved in the previous sensations we may not be able to think with total lucidity. And you may wonder what this has to do with critical thinking, and it is very simple:
One of the clearest examples is that of a person who must decide whether or not to use his vehicle when he is tired or drunk. One must think critically to decide whether one’s reaction capacity, or visual skills, are adequate for driving.