Thinking critically is the essence of thinking. If we must reason, we should do so based on logic with palpable facts. Though most people just share whatever comes their way without trying to find out if the contents are genuine or not, it is inappropriate and to claim to be educated without showing cautiousness in disseminating information. These are some useful tips for a critical thinker.
How to be a Critical Thinker in Four (4) Steps
An empty brain has no accessories for thinking over any issue because to think is to use items of information both existing and new reasonably to arrive at a sensible conclusion.
As an individual, especially a student, you must be informed to have a reasonable and convincing debate on a theme. These items of knowledge are primarily in the news, in literary work, from the mouths of politicians, teachers, researchers, and parents.
So, it is important to learn, study, and keep essential facts, knowledge, that will serve as resources for thinking over subjects that arise and require analyses. You cannot talk about what you do not know. Gain knowledge first.
Crosscheck Every Knowledge
“Accept nothing as true that is not self-evident” (Descartes, 1637). In his Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes professes in the first of his four rules, the need to be convinced with no iota of doubt that the information we have is true before acknowledging it.
Honestly, we are responsible for what we say. And when we repeat things that other people say without citing them, we become the author of that statement. Assuming you received a post stating they have postponed your examinations which was scheduled for the next day. Just a post. You do not share such a post without crosschecking.
You must speak to your course leader who is a resource person and to one other resource person who could be a lecturer or a school authority. When you do not have any confirmation, you go to school as planned for your exams. In plain English, as a critical thinker, you must not take actions because they are popular but because they are true. And the only way to be sure is to crosscheck.
Referencing is first perceived as “giving honour to whom it is due” (Proverbs). But beyond that, referencing is a necessary precaution that saves you from becoming the author of an unpleasant or misleading statement that might damage your reputation.
However, it is classy and formal to reference or cite authors of statements that are not ours, but we use while talking or writing. This brings more strength to our arguments and makes us established critical thinkers.
When people who share unfounded items of information on social media realize their posts got quoted with their names and shared on social media, they will be more careful in disseminating unverified information.
It is smart to acknowledge that your work, statement, or analysis of a situation or subject is based on the facts available. This implies if more facts become available, the result of your work, statement, or analysis could improve.
Obviously, new findings are available every day. For example, if you have gathered with certitude that your brother will always choose apples over bananas today, you cannot predict if your brother will reconsider tomorrow and pick bananas over apples.
In few words, it is best to state convincingly an accurate statement with a little window for a change if new facts surface. This is so because nothing is perfect. Everything is evolving, and critical thinkers must also evolve.
“You have a brain and mind of your own. Use it and reach your own decisions.”—Napoleon Hill