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Importance of Critical Thinking, Principles, and Goals

"The first aim of the teaching was formulated by Montaigne: a well-made head is better than a well-filled head."

What a well-full head means is clear; it is ahead in which knowledge is accumulated, piled up, and does not have a principle of selection and organization that gives it meaning ". A well-made head means that instead of accumulating knowledge, it is much more important to have at the same time:  

- A general attitude to pose and deal with problems;

- organizing principles that make it possible to connect knowledge and make sense of it. 

These are the words of Edgar Morin, a French philosopher and sociologist, born in 1921 in Paris in a Sephardic Jewish family with Tuscan origins. In these words, we learn the basics of critical thinking, and we realize how far the educational system is from it. Critical thinking is a necessary intellectual capacity that needs to be strengthened, trained, and not an attitude that is inherited genetically. At the end of each year of study, children should leave the system enriched, changed, but in a positive way: from subjects subordinate to an undisputed authority to critically thinking subjects, capable of questioning authority, due to knowledge and dialectic earned.  

The components of critical thinking

Many authors agree that there are several components of critical thinking. However, it appeared to us that exposing the synthesis of the different conceptions and the multiple classifications operated on these components was not useful in this work of definition. Indeed, since our research will focus on the hypothesis of the existence of critical thinking implemented in philosophical practices, we consider it more relevant to focus our analysis of these components through the conceptions of critical thinking in New Practices Philosophical. In addition, about a possible hierarchy which would exist within each component or between them; we share the idea of ​​experts according to which, even though some skills or attitudes are more complex than others, all are equally important; classifying them hierarchically does not "do justice to the importance and complexity of mobilizing certain simple skills within a research process, which is itself complex". Now let's see these three components. 

1. Thinking skills

A thought skill is a mental process used to perform a mental activity such as judgment. Experts use the term thought process since, for them, it is a "mental activity, based on thought processes such as analyze, argue, reason. This activity is implemented to carry out an action which can itself lead to others. It is not a mechanical stimulus-response, but the impulse of a movement which leads to one or more actions depending on the situation. A single skill like defining, for example, will not be enough to pass judgment. Others are needed, which, by combining, adding up, and interacting with the other critical thinking components, can make it possible to judge adequately. Critical thinking has skills that can be mobilized to achieve its ends. But it still has other components that it will combine with these skills.

2. Attitudes

Attitudes are behaviors and dispositions that the critical thinker possesses or develops, and that helps him to carry out the evaluation. They have sometimes been presented as social skills. For some, the critical thinker has intellectual or character traits conducive to his exercise. We could group them under several categories, the first of which would be taking others into account, the second concerning open-mindedness in general. The attitudes are relating to self-correction, a fourth which group together those relating to motivation and interest in the truth, a fifth which would focus on those which refer to the metacognitive dimension of critical thinking.

External elements 

These elements which we call external are not as much as that since, for a certain number of them, each person possesses or appropriates them within the framework of the process of critical judgment. However, for the sake of distinction, let's call them that. The first of these is the knowledge and sometimes beliefs that we think we have about that knowledge. They serve as a sort of the point of reference or "anchor," allowing the object of thought to be assessed in terms of what we know or think we know. 

It seems indeed inconceivable to think of exercising your critical thinking in a vacuum. However, when this knowledge is lacking, it is necessary to seek information. The person will then use different means to achieve this. These are the most relevant and credible ones in providing us with the help we need in the specific context of information retrieval. The experts also insist on cooperation with peers in the context of dialogic critical thinking, since this process is a process of co-construction. Mutual aid and collaboration are involved.

 So in order to define critical thinking, we have gone through its nature and its components, since there is no consensus between what the specialist and the man

in the street understand by these terms. We discovered that it is a category of conscious thought, reflected and voluntary. Its purpose is to issue judgments. It is, therefore, evaluative. It is a self-correcting and metacognitive process is always contextual and is based on criteria. It is strategy and investigation, ideally responsible. It is the combination of three components: thinking skills, attitudes and external elements. Thus, at the end of this analytical work, we can, in turn, propose a definition of critical thinking: "reflexive, evaluative, conscious and voluntary process, self-correcting and metacognitive, capable of mobilizing different components such as skills, attitudes and external elements. To produce, independently and responsibly, a judgment on a complex problem, based on criteria, in a specific context ".

Critical Thinking: the Importance of Critical Thinking, Principles, and Goals

The word "Criticism," which is often used and received with a negative meaning, arises with a completely different meaning. It indicates the art or science of analyzing and evaluating a product based on what were the principles of Greek philosophy, in particular the Principle of the True.

As for the principles from which Critical Thinking or Critical Thinking moves, whatever you want, we found them in the words of Paul:

- Analysis skills;

- Consistency and equity;

- Clarity and accuracy;

- Precision;

- Depth and breadth of thought.

This list would add the Suspension of Judgment, which is both a principle of Critical Thinking and a point of arrival. Regarding the goals, these make us better understand the importance of critical thinking is:

- Ability to question automatically internalized things, taken as obvious, absorbed uncritically through education;

- Ability to adopt further points of view and to evaluate different perspectives;

- Strengthening the ability to think creatively and develop alternative solutions, to solve problems that seem insoluble, to recognize the potential in the way of reasoning different from

Knowing how to exercise Leadership

- Talent in dealing with new, ambiguous situations in which different and disparate information converge;

- Growth of reasoning and analysis skills, fundamental and basic for each of the highlighted points.

What has been said makes us understand the importance of critical thinking immediately in all areas of everyday life, from school to the relationship with parents, from studies to social relations, from group work to couple relationships.

The more our thinking broadens, and we learn to accept the diversity that characterizes the uniqueness of the human being, the more we manage to relate to others, enriching ourselves. This does not mean ending up accepting everything as good, but knowing how to critically evaluate experiences and points of view before accepting or discarding them uncritically.

Critical Thinking: Understanding the Importance of Critical Thinking

So what is the importance of critical thinking?

Critical Thinking is important because it helps to analyze the information, experiences, thoughts generally without stopping at the surface, the already acquired, the common thought, and conforming. In essence, critical thinking is important because it helps to reason with your own head and, in certain circumstances, in front of important choices.

For example, related to your future, knowing how to look at things from multiple points of view, knowing how to be objective and analytical helps to make thoughtful, personal, valued choices without being carried away by emotions and without fear of change.

Feeding doubt and learning to train thinking are things that help broaden the range of solutions and that of one's own possibilities; for this reason, critical thinking is a highly requested skill in the world of work. Whether critical thinking is a natural endowment, whether it is a way of volunteering or is the result of an individual's cultural and social growth, the fact is that critical thinking can be trained. Give yourself time to make a choice, stop by reflecting on the point of view of others. Simply entertaining oneself with quizzes, brainteasersCritical Thinking, and games that require reasoning can help realize how much thought can go much beyond those limits that we have chosen to give and give to ourselves.

Author: Vicki Lezama

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