This was beneficial to humans when we were hunting large game and fighting off wild animals, but it can be disastrous when we’re trying to decide who to vote for.
A critical thinker is aware of their cognitive biases and personal prejudices and how they influence seemingly “objective” decisions and solutions. Becoming aware of them is what makes critical thinking possible.
From Newton to Einstein to Yitang Zhang, questioning assumptions is where innovation happens. All these things can be a reality if you just question your assumptions and critically evaluate your beliefs about what’s prudent, appropriate, or possible.
You don’t even have to be an aspiring Einstein to benefit from questioning your assumptions. If you’re looking for some help with this process, then check out Oblique Strategies.
Once you get out into the real world, critical thinking matters even more.
This is because: With a proper productivity system, nothing ever slips through the cracks.It’s a tool that musician Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt created to aid creative problem solving.Some of the “cards” are specific to music, but most work for any time you’re stuck on a problem.Your teachers in high school won’t expect you to remember every little fact about U. My high school teachers gave similar speeches when describing what would be expected of us in college: it’s not about the facts you know, but rather about your ability to evaluate them. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my teacher was giving a concise summary of critical thinking.Human thought is amazing, but the speed and automation with which it happens can be a disadvantage when we’re trying to think critically.Our brains naturally use heuristics (mental shortcuts) to explain what’s happening around us.Critical thinking is just deliberately and systematically processing information so that you can make better decisions and generally understand things better. Without critical thinking, it’s easy for people to manipulate us and for all sorts of catastrophes to result.The above definition includes so many words because critical thinking requires you to apply diverse intellectual tools to diverse information. Anywhere that some form of fundamentalism led to tragedy (the Holocaust is a textbook example), critical thinking was sorely lacking.Ask the following questions of any evidence you encounter: Take, for example, a study showing the health benefits of a sugary cereal. That is, until you learn that a sugary cereal company funded it.You can’t automatically assume that this invalidates the study’s results, but you should certainly question them when a conflict of interests is so apparent.