Filosofica Critical Thinking

It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Critical thinking — in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes — is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking.

Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and 2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. It is thus to be contrasted with: 1) the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated; 2) the mere possession of a set of skills, because it involves the continual use of them; and 3) the mere use of those skills ("as an exercise") without acceptance of their results.

Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’, vested interest. As such it is typically intellectually flawed, however pragmatically successful it might be. When grounded in fairmindedness and intellectual integrity, it is typically of a higher order intellectually, though subject to the charge of "idealism" by those habituated to its selfish use.

Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion. For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor.

Another Brief Conceptualization of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.   People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically.    They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.   They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies.   They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking.   They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.   They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest.   They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society.    At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.   They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others.   They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement.   They embody the Socratic principle:   The unexamined life is not worth living , because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world.               ~ Linda Elder, September, 2007

Why Critical Thinking?

The Problem
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and
imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  

(Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008)

Critical Thinking Defined by Edward Glaser

In a seminal study on critical thinking and education in 1941, Edward Glaser defines critical thinking as follows “The ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things: ( 1 ) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods. Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends. It also generally requires ability to recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems, to gather and marshal pertinent information, to recognize unstated assumptions and values, to comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discrimination, to interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments, to recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions, to draw warranted conclusions and generalizations, to put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives, to reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience, and to render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life. 

(Edward M. Glaser, An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, 1941)

Back to top

Critical Thinking para negocios

El 22 mayo, 2013en Equanima, eventostags: entrenamiento filosófico, filosofía negocios, habilidades pensamiento, pensamiento crítico, pensar empresa| 178Sin

El próximo jueves 30 de Mayo tendrá lugar en las instalaciones de DeskMadrid una formación para pymes, emprendedores y pequeños negocios organizada por Injoinet y Equánima. La formación tiene como objetivo potenciar las capacidades de las PYMES y emprendedores de negocios para conseguir más clientes e incrementar el volumen de ventas, potenciando el diseño de […]

Leer más →

La tradición de los ejercicios espirituales

El 29 noviembre, 2012en Filosofía Artesanatags: consultoría filosófica, ejercicio filosófico, entrenamiento filosófico| 151Sin

El historiador de la filosofía Pierre Hadot, fallecido hace un par de años, desarrolló en su obra el concepto de “ejercicios espirituales”. Se trata de ejercicios inspirados en la Filosofía Antigua, y los define así: “actos del intelecto, o de la imaginación, o de la voluntad, caracterizados por su finalidad: gracias a ellos, el individuo se esfuerza en transformar […]

Leer más →

¿Qué es un ejercicio filosófico?

El 27 noviembre, 2012en Filosofía Artesanatags: ejercicio filosófico, entrenamiento filosófico| 148Sin

La filosofía como artesanía y arte de vida. El filósofo como artesano y artista. @AdaGalan   Utilizo la expresión ejercicio filosófico para designar toda propuesta práctica diseñada para: Ahondar en el autoconocimiento y en la propia filosofía de vida (ejercicios introspectivos, de observación interior, descubrimiento y análisis de creencias operativas…). Entrenar habilidades filosóficas, agrupables […]

Leer más →

El arte de parar(se)

El 26 noviembre, 2012en Filosofía Artesanatags: ejercicio filosófico, entrenamiento filosófico| 146Sin

Vivimos en una sociedad enferma, demente y fratricida. Una sociedad atontada, ausente, adormilada y a la vez prisionera de la prisa. Somos sonámbulos, pero sonámbulos que corren: – ¿Por qué corres? Le preguntó alguien al jinete que corría desbocado. – No lo sé, pregúntale a mi caballo.    Hace tiempo leí esto y me pareció […]

Leer más →

Autoconocimiento y aprendizaje

El 15 junio, 2012en Filosofía Artesanatags: aprendizaje, autoconocimiento, entrenamiento filosófico, habilidades filosóficas| 118Sin

Cada lectura de un texto de las grandes tradiciones de sabiduría me lo muestra: el cristianismo, el sufismo, el budismo, el zen, el hinduismo, etc. tienen intuiciones filosóficas muy similares. Esta mañana he desayunado leyendo un texto atribuído a Bodhidharma (s.V), introductor del budismo zen en China y fundador del Kung-fu. Al llegar a este […]

Leer más →

Entrénate en pensamiento utópico

El 15 marzo, 2012en recursostags: ejercicio filosófico, entrenamiento filosófico, pensamiento utópico| 83Sin

El pensamiento utópico, la capacidad de imaginar escenarios alternativos al statu quo, ha estado siempre presente en la actividad filosófica. Sirvan como ejemplos las obras renacentistas Utopía de Tomás Moro, La Nueva Atlántida de F. Bacon o La Ciudad del Sol de Campanella, o el socialismo utópico de finales del XVIII y principios del XIX, […]

Leer más →

¿Para qué sirve la filosofía?

El 28 octubre, 2011en Filosofía Artesanatags: arte de vida, entrenamiento filosófico, filosofía utilidad| 200388Sin

Por lo general, se entiende por filosofía una disciplina académica, esencialmente teórica y especulativa, ejercida por un reducido grupo de especialistas bajo la forma de un discurso autorreferencial y complejo, cuando no directamente incomprensible. Vivir y filosofar son, según esta concepción, dos actividades separadas, o incluso de naturaleza opuesta. Sin embargo, lo cierto es que […]

Leer más →


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *