History[ edit ] The earliest documentation of critical thinking are the teachings of Socrates recorded by Plato. Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational.
Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: The first step in this process is understanding the parts of thinking, or elements of reasoning.
They are present in the mind whenever we reason. To take command of our thinking, we need to formulate both our purpose and the question at issue clearly. We need to use information in our thinking that is both relevant to the question we are dealing with, and accurate.
We need to make logical inferences based on sound assumptions. We need to understand our own point of view and fully consider other relevant viewpoints.
We need to use concepts justifiably and follow out the implications of decisions we are considering. In this article we focus on two of the elements of reasoning: Learning to distinguish inferences from assumptions is an important intellectual skill.
Many confuse the two elements. Let us begin with a review of the basic meanings: If you come at me with a knife in your hand, I probably would infer that you mean to do me harm. Inferences can be accurate or inaccurate, logical or illogical, justified or unjustified.
An assumption is something we take for granted or presuppose. Usually it is something we previously learned and do not question. It is part of our system of beliefs.
We assume our beliefs to be true and use them to interpret the world about us. If we believe that it is dangerous to walk late at night in big cities and we are staying in Chicago, we will infer that it is dangerous to go for a walk late at night.
We take for granted our belief that it is dangerous to walk late at night in big cities. If our belief is a sound one, our assumption is sound. If our belief is not sound, our assumption is not sound.
Beliefs, and hence assumptions, can be unjustified or justified, depending upon whether we do or do not have good reasons for them. I got up to let the cat in. We humans naturally and regularly use our beliefs as assumptions and make inferences based on those assumptions.How do assumptions relate to the process of critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Critical thinking is significant in academics due to being significant in learning. Critical thinking is significant in the learning process of internalization, in the construction of basic ideas, principles, and theories inherent in content. And critical thinking is significant in the learning process of application, whereby those ideas, principles, and theories are implemented effectively as they become relevant in .
An assumption is an unexamined belief: what we think without realizing we think it. Our inferences (also called conclusions) are often based on assumptions that we haven't thought about critically.
A critical thinker, however, is attentive to these assumptions because they are sometimes incorrect or misguided.
Characteristics of Critical Thinking. Wade () identifies eight characteristics of critical thinking. Critical thinking involves asking questions, defining a problem, examining evidence, analyzing assumptions and biases, avoiding emotional reasoning, avoiding oversimplification, considering other interpretations, and tolerating ambiguity.
Critical Thinking 3: Assumptions January 19, Critical Thinking, Practice assumptions Robert M Ellis All arguments, whether inductive or deductive, begin with assumptions (also known as premises). Some assumptions are well supported and do not weaken the critical thinking process.
Ensuring that all parties understand all assumptions helps when debating and discussing ideas. Critical thinking requires using logic, but logic is dependent upon accepting premises.