What Does it Mean to Think Critically?
What does it mean to think critically? Some individuals would say to think critically is to deep think. Other individuals may say that critical thinking is thought that explores all possible logical outcomes. Critical thinking is best understood descriptively and through real life application analysis.
Critical thinking may be used in each and every decision made and within all thought synthesis. “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action”(Criticalthinking.org, 2009). So, critical thinking takes a disciplined mind. A disciplined has multiple characteristics such as intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy, intellectual empathy, and intellectual courage and so on. An undisciplined mind will be quite the opposite of a disciplined mind presenting characteristics such as intellectual hypocrisy, arrogance, conformity, unfairness, laziness and cowardice to name a few. It is safe to state that critical thinking can be categorized as strong or weak due to the multiple dimensional depths of thinking.
A good critical thinker will be fair-minded. When an individual is fair-minded, a non-biased approach is created. When individuals make decisions that are non-biased, ethical distinction occurs. Fair-mindedness is equal and just and therefore creates minimum opposition, respectfully. To be fair minded is important for the sake of ethical distinction and in the element of a good reputation. When an individual is fair-minded, we find that mediatory relationships are created. Operationally, fair-mindedness is important to produce the most positive results from organizational decision making. Fair-mindedness considers all parties and all consequences and all rewards.
Decisions are made on a variety of factors and all factors are settled within the individual mind. Assumptions are the educated internal beliefs that are similar to a prediction. Assumptions play a role in my decision making due to the factor nature of an assumption meaning that an assumption can be a “factor” for decision making. According to Winkipedia, “An assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts”. Winkipedia is not the most desirable place of reference; however the above definition is fair. To presume is a form of a guess. And when you think of making important decisions based on a “guess”, it makes you visualize the importance of not assuming while decision making. An assumption plays an instrumental role in critical thinking and in decision making because it contours thoughts that lead to a course of action. If one “assumes” that it will rain due to a cloudy and dark sky, this is only an assumption. In an organizational context, if a retail store “assumes” that sales will increase with the holiday season, this assumption will shape the critical decision making of the inventory manager to purchase more product. So it is safe to state that assumptions play an instrumental role in critical thinking.
In the book titled Critical Thinking, the authors share their concept of different stages of thinking. “If we aspire to develop as thinkers, the stages all of us go through are:
The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice)
The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
The Master Thinker (skilled and insightful thinking become second nature to us)”
(Paul and Elder, 2006).
As an actress, it is advantageous to think critically in order to determine the level of anticipated thought required as to portray a character. If one thinks to deeply, they can over act a role and seem phony. Critical thinking is required in order to actually limit the amount of thinking. This critical thinking notion restricts the mind from thinking too deeply in an effort to create a more believable and natural portrayal; quite contrary to the noted purpose of critical thinking.
Critical thinking requires the development of basic intellectual skills, abilities, and insights. By definition, critical thinking is an advanced conceptualization that requires a disciplined mind. Additionally, critical thinking is fair-minded, removes all assumptions and has multiple dimensional stages. Critical thinking is by far the proper and most effective method of thinking and will yield the most elite results.
Paul, Richard and Elder, Linda. (2006). Self-Understanding. Prentice Hall, Inc. A Pearson Education Company.
Criticalthinking.org. (2009). Defining Critical Thinking. Last accessed on February 1, 2010 from, http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutct/define_critical_thinking.cfm.
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