How To Build Critical Thinking Skills

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Therefore, reasoning about a decision in multiple moods, places and settings will give you the greatest variety of backdrops to reason about things.

If the decision is the same each time, you’re can be more confident that you have the correct assessment.

The first problem was actually resolved over a hundred years ago by psychologists Edward Thorndike and Robert Woodworth.

The popular view of learning of their day was the idea that human brains contained large, distinct “faculties” such as logic, memory and judgement, and that by practicing them on subjects, regardless of their relevance to the real world, would strengthen these faculties just like lifting weights in the gym improves your muscles.

Similarly, critical thinking isn’t just a single monolithic ability that reduces to abstract logical forms.

Instead it’s numerous facts, inferences, heuristics and context-specific abilities that must be built up through voluminous exposure to real situations.Old beliefs may cling stubbornly to their prior position, even once you’re shown to be wrong.Part of this may be because, in an argumentative theory of reason, we are trying to justify our intuitive beliefs rather than argue against them.Critical thinking isn’t just for detecting fake news, however. This approach starts by teaching you some basic rules of logical deduction, modus ponens, some examples of fallacies and a whole bunch of Latin terminology that philosophers use. Each of these decisions is difficult and important, so being able to think critically about them can make a huge difference in your life.The problem is that this theory of the mind doesn’t work. Instead of general, abstract faculties that can be improved with non-specific training, improvements to the mind tend to be extremely specific.General improvements, when they happen, tend to result out of the accumulation of many, many specific improvements, rather than unrelated and general ones. The faculty view says that learning Latin will improve your linguistic faculties.The argumentative theory of reason, which I covered in depth here, suggests that the seeming failure of many types of human reason are misinterpreted because they don’t recognize reason’s true function.Instead of a general-purpose way of making better decisions, reason is a faculty for generating explanations and evaluating those of others.The argumentative theory of reason suggests that reason doesn’t work very well alone.However, it does work brilliantly when combined in public debate.

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