Overview of Critical Thinking

Within the framework of scientific skepticism, the process of critical thinking involves acquiring information and evaluating it to reach a well-justified conclusion or answer. Part of critical thinking comprises informal logic. Given research in cognitive psychology, educators increasingly believe that schools should focus more on teaching their students critical thinking skills than on memorizing facts by rote learning.

Critical thinking is very important, as it allows information received to be evaluated, decreasing the risk of acting on a false premise. The loss of this faculty through injury, intoxication, denial or subversion can lead to a greater risk of one making a fatal Error.

However even with the use of critical thinking, mistakes can happen due to the thinker not being in possession of the full facts. Plus there is always the possibility of Human error.

The process of critical thinking responds to many subjects and situations, finding connections between them. It forms, therefore, a system of related modes of thought that cut across fields like science, mathematics, engineering, history, anthropology, economics, moral reasoning and philosophy.

One can regard critical thinking as involving two aspects:

1. a set of cognitive skills

2. the ability and intellectual commitment to use those skills to guide behavior.

Critical thinking does not include simply the acquisition and retention of information, or the possession of a skill-set which one does not use regularly; nor does critical thinking merely exercise skills without acceptance of the results.

To be a critical thinker, one has to initially catch as much information in as many subjects as possible, and to prevent over-specializing in a single topic. That's important. This is because the lack of a wide range of information, or worse, common sense, will limit your point of view when analyzing different situations or statements. As a result, you may draw a weak conclusion. Another reason is that the detailed information in a specific topic is useless when judging problems of different topics.

Are there any additional benefits given to critical thinkers? According to some philosophers, that's luck. But paradox may exist because luck, by critical thinking, is usually defined as fallacy.

Critical thinking is generally considered by the more esteemed philosophers as one of the backwaters of the subject.