Critical Thinking: The Ability to Think for Ones Self Essay

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Critical thinkers have the ability to think on a higher level. A process for thinking critically is required that will bring about decisions and ideas that will provide for a better life for ourselves and those around us. Most of us take thinking for granted. However, we develop as critical thinkers when we open ourselves to recognizing the strengths and weakness’ of our own thinking. Higher order thinking comes into play when choosing a presidential candidate, or sitting on a jury for a murder trial, or deciding if we need nuclear power plants, or when determining the effects of global warming. As a critical thinker, one becomes a more responsible, contributing member of society. (Schafersman, S.D., 1991). To put us on the road to…show more content…
To have intellectual humility requires us to first recognize our own ignorance. This is not to say that we are stupid, but that we lack “…intellectual arrogance, pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit” (Paul & Elder, 2006, pg. 10). Recognizing that we are ignorant about a subject lets us see “…the prejudices, false beliefs, and habits of mind that lead to flawed learning” (Paul & Elder, 2006, pg. 11). We cannot be fair-minded about a subject we do not know. This brings us to Intellectual courage. Intellectual courage will require looking past popular beliefs of society and this will include one’s own closely held beliefs and ideas. We cannot allow ourselves to feel threatened by ideas that conflict with our own identity. When intellectual courage has been acquired, a person can move past the fear of rejection from their peers. Critical thinkers do not identify themselves by their own belief. Instead, a critical thinker will use the process to form a belief. This allows for fair mindedness. After all, it is truth of a matter that we seek. Another trait of fair mindedness is intellectual empathy. When we demonstrate empathy, we are putting ourselves in the position of another person and seeing things through their viewpoints and reasoning. It is not possible to be a fair minded thinker if we do not try to understand another’s thinking. “If we do not learn how to take on others’ perspectives and to accurately think as they think, we will not be

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