Critical Thinking- WHY?

I think the week 4 lectures on critical thinking were very appropriate when it comes to the sustainable development module. As we progress with the module and are presented with more and more information, I believe it is important to keep an open mind and remember the various facets of critical thinking that make it easier to research a topic and get an accurate picture. While I’m sure the information the lecturers present is as unbiased and accurate as possible, there are many sources that we may come across in general research for blogs etc. that employ various tactics that sway the reader or appeal to their emotions. This includes the use of rhetoric or fallacies that are designed to appear rational, e.g. in the debate about climate change,parties confuse association with causation. See the link below which shows a number of logical fallacies that I think provides a strong case for critical thinking.

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

When the word critical is used it never seems to be good, and so even critical thinking harbours some negative connotations when first introduced. But critical thinking is a positive exercise and I think it is a pity is wasn’t given another name. It is not about being overly negative or giving a critique as criticism or arrogance. In fact, these are some of the barriers to critical thinking. The result of proper critical thinking is a well-balanced, and accurate portrayal of the topic in hand.

 One of the things from the lectures that stood out for me – I suppose because I can relate to it – was one of the barriers to critical thinking. That is focusing only on operational learning(“know-how”) rather than on conceptual learning (“know-why”). I think this is something that I and many more have always done. The important thing when in school was getting thins done, and what you needed to know for this was “how” to do it. Who cared “why” you had to do whatever it was the way you did, once you had it done you didn’t have to worry about it and you were free to do what you wanted, and if I’m honest it is still a bit like that in college. So, at least there is room to improve if we ever feel like improving. You have to say though, Joe Meehan is probably right, the real questin is:  WHY?

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