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What is Critical Thinking? - Definition, Skills & Meaning

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  • 0:01 Critical Thinking Defined
  • 1:16 Using Critical Thinking Skills
  • 4:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara DeLecce

Tara has taught Psychology and has a master's degree in evolutionary psychology.

Critical thinking is a term that we hear a lot, but many people don't really stop to think about what it means or how to use it. This lesson will tell you exactly what it means and make you realize that the average person largely ignores critical thinking.

Critical Thinking Defined

Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don't simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support a particular argument or conclusion. People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, 'How do you know that? Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?' and 'Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?'

Additionally, critical thinking can be divided into the following three core skills:

  1. Curiosity is the desire to learn more information and seek evidence as well as being open to new ideas.
  2. Skepticism involves having a healthy questioning attitude about new information that you are exposed to and not blindly believing everything everyone tells you.
  3. Finally, humility is the ability to admit that your opinions and ideas are wrong when faced with new convincing evidence that states otherwise.

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