{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking - Critical Thinking A Short Treatise by W...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 Critical Thinking A Short Treatise by W. Vincent Wilding What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking is a methodical, systematic process of evaluating the credibility of incoming information. It enhances and expands our ability to distinguish what is true from what is false. Thus, as critical thinkers, we can make an informed and intelligent response to this information and the accompanying pleas (explicit or implied) that we think, believe, or do what is recommended. Consider this fictional analogy. There is occasional worldwide concern about the possible outbreak of a pandemic resulting from the rapid spread of illnesses, such as bird or swine flu, or an ebola virus. Suppose we live on a small south Pacific island which is a popular tourist destination. If our little island were to be infected with any of these diseases it would most likely spread through the tight-knit population with devastating consequences - to say nothing of the economic ramifications. Word reaches us that one of these diseases is beginning to spread in another part of the world. To protect our island inhabitants and way of life we establish a quarantine system for incoming visitors. These visitors are held in absolute isolation until it is absolutely certain that they are not infected. If any visitor is infected they are not admitted to the island. Disease-free visitors are welcomed into our society and are showered with all of the hospitality that our island can offer. As critical thinkers we behave much as we do on our island. All incoming information is at first not trusted - it is quarantined and evaluated. Only information that passes our rigorous test for reliability and truth is permitted to stick around. Once information is accepted it becomes part of our collective knowledge base which guides our attitudes, beliefs and actions - it becomes part of our island society. By the way, it is a fascinating and rewarding job to be the gatekeeper of your own island - your own mind. It is a position of great responsibility and power. The skills that make a good gatekeeper are to be coveted and developed with the greatest care. Clarification of a few terms will help in our discussion of critical thinking principles. Information comes to us in the form of one or more arguments. An argument is the reason(s) for doing or believing what is being recommended. An argument is a set of propositions which consists of one or more conclusions (the primary claims of the
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
2 argument) and supporting claims or premises. Thus arguments contain the justification for the recommended action. Rhetoric is persuasion through the power of words - not through the quality of the reasons. Rhetoric is often a powerful means of persuasion, but as critical thinkers we need to distinguish between rhetoric and good (sound) arguments. Rhetoric will be discussed in more detail shortly.
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern