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Students often ask why critical thinking is required at university and what it means to be a critical thinker.
Critical thinking has been variously defined but the following two definitions may help you to understand it better.
All of these processes are part of critical analysis; thinking critically is an activity you use in making decisions and evaluating different possibilities. You are not passively accepting everything that you read or hear but are questioning, evaluating, categorising information and making connections within the text and comparing what the author is saying with other experts who have written on the same topic.
At university you are asked to think critically when you read academic texts, when you write academic assignments and when you present in tutorials or seminars.
It followed a philosophy where the thinker was removed from the train of thought and the connections and the analysis of the connect was devoid of any bias of the thinker.
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Kerry Walters describes this ideology in his essay Beyond Logicism in Critical Thinking, "A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal (and, to a lesser extent, formal) logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective.Aristotle and subsequent Greek skeptics refined Socrates' teachings, using systematic thinking and asking questions to ascertain the true nature of reality beyond the way things appear from a glance. The "first wave" of critical thinking is often referred to as a 'critical analysis' that is clear, rational thinking involving critique. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.Socrates set the agenda for the tradition of critical thinking, namely, to reflectively question common beliefs and explanations, carefully distinguishing beliefs that are reasonable and logical from those that—however appealing to our native egocentrism, however much they serve our vested interests, however comfortable or comforting they may be—lack adequate evidence or rational foundation to warrant belief. defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action." In the term critical thinking, the word critical, (Grk.The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking."First wave" logical thinking consisted of understanding the connections between two concepts or points in thought.Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows: Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness.Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.His method of questioning is now known as "Socratic questioning" and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy.In his mode of questioning, Socrates highlighted the need for thinking for clarity and logical consistency.One of the key strategies you can use when reading critically is to ask yourself a series of questions.Begin by asking questions which relate to the text overall and then look at the author’s argument and the evidence used to support it.