From Questions We Didn’t Get to:
1) How can I grow my critical thinking skills? - Violetta
I think we did cover this one. You can learn about impediments to clear critical thinking such as cognitive biases and logical fallacies. You can practise critical thinking by asking questions about your thinking. (I’ve included my list below.) One really useful (and quite difficult) exercise is to choose a topic that you have strong opinions about and write a paragraph or 2 with the arguments that support your opinion. Then write another paragraph or 2 setting out all the arguments you can think of that support an opinion about the topic that is totally opposite to yours.
2) Are there any mistakes that people new to critical thinking usually make? - Ajay Balamurugadas
I’d like to hear what other people have to say about this. One pitfall I can imagine is that newbies could fall into overkill and find it difficult to actually make a decision about the thing they’re thinking about. For example, when looking at lists and descriptions of cognitive biases, it would be easy to get lost in all the detail.
We all need to be aware that we often have to move on and make decisions without having all the facts, or without exploring everything we think we should explore. We do have to make assumptions. That’s not a problem so long as we are open about the assumptions we’ve made, and keep it in mind to prove/disprove those assumptions as we go on.
Another mistake might be to decide that critical thinking is too difficult to sustain, and give up. It’s important to remember that everyone has cognitive biases and everyone can be illogical at times. Nobody can be an excellent critical thinker all the time. The important thing is to keep trying.
It would also be a mistake to believe that critical thinking is negative and upsetting to other people. It’s true that people do sometimes find questions disturbing, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to ask them when you believe those questions are important. But we do need to be aware of other people’s sensitivities and not be too aggressive about asking questions.
3. If thinking about thinking is critical thinking, “what kind of thinking” about thinking? - Ajay Balamurugadas
I seem to recall addressing this, Ajay, but maybe there’s more you’re asking? Fundamentally, critical thinking is about rigorously questioning and challenging your thinking.
4. Critical thinking, design thinking, lateral thinking - is it the same? - Violetta
I would say that they are not the same thing. There are many different types of thinking. Critical thinking is analytical, whereas design thinking and lateral thinking are creative.
5. Beautiful questions all around here. What questions are we not asking which you think are important to be asked in a critical thinking AMA - Ajay Balamurugadas
I can’t think of any. Maybe about resources, for example, where to learn about cognitive biases or logical fallacies. But it is easy to find good resources online.
6. Could you please give us some tips to measure our critical thinking and how to realize that we are being over critical? - Marlon Almeida
We talked about having some stopping heuristics. The big one would be if you find yourself going in circles. Another one would be if you are holding up important work and feeling pressure to move on. In both these cases, you could note the things you know you don’t know, describe the assumptions you are making to fill those gaps, and decide how to proceed based on what you do know and what you assume.
The rule of 3 could help you measure too. It says that you haven’t thought of at least 3 alternatives (options, etc.), then you haven’t thought hard enough. OTOH, if you have thought of 3, that could be a good time to stop, depending on the context.
7. Can we really learn to be critical in our thinking? - Violetta
Yes, we can. It’s a skill that we can learn and grow. See 1 above.
8. What usually people do not ask what you would like them to know about critical thinking? - Violetta
I believe we covered the important points with the questions you all asked, in the time we had, Violetta. See also 5 above.
9. How can we help our brain to avoid making thinking patterns or automating our actions? - Oxana
By making a habit of observing and questioning/challenging our thinking. Also by learning about cognitive biases and logical fallacies, and becoming aware when we are falling into them.