Critical thinkers have the ability to think on a higher level. A process for thinking critically is required that will bring about decisions and ideas that will provide for a better life for ourselves and those around us. Most of us take thinking for granted. However, we develop as critical thinkers when we open ourselves to recognizing the strengths and weakness’ of our own thinking. Higher order thinking comes into play when choosing a presidential candidate, or sitting on a jury for a murder trial, or deciding if we need nuclear power plants, or when determining the effects of global warming. As a critical thinker, one becomes a more responsible, contributing member of society. (Schafersman, S.D., 1991). To put us on the road to being critical thinkers, we need to acquire the attributes of a critical thinker and to learn to be fair minded and recognize our own ignorance.
Traits of a Critical Thinker
In order to improve the thinking ability, one needs intellectual integrity, humility, sense of justice, perseverance, fair mindedness, a confidence in reason, intellectual courage, empathy, and autonomy. These traits allow one to use highly insightful thinking. Someone with a weak sense for critical thinking may become good at winning arguments but they do not develop a sense of fair mindedness. (Paul & Elder, 2006).
Being a fair minded thinker can be hard. It requires one to consider views other than one’s own. A person cannot look for his or her own advantage or the advantage of friends. We cannot always be fair minded because our egos get in the way. However, striving to develop a brain that is fair minded will let us find the truth of a matter. All of the traits described above go into developing a fair minded thinking ...
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... one to come to conclusions that are fair-minded. (Paul & Elder, 2006).
Intellectual integrity, humility, a sense of justice, perseverance, fair mindedness, a confidence in reason, intellectual courage, empathy, and autonomy are all traits needed to create a critical thinker with a fair and disciplined mind. When one moves past their own egocentric thinking, one can become a nonconformist with the ability to think for ones self. This makes one a better thinker and decision maker and therefore, a better contributor to society.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life (2nd. ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall.
Schafersman, S.D. (1991, January). An introduction to critical thinking. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from , Web site: http://www.freeinquiry.com/critical-thinking.html
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