Critical thinking

Critical thinking: Take a pause every now and then to move forward in the right direction!

An ever faster changing environment and an inexhaustible stream of available information makes life in the 21st century enormously fascinating. But it is also sometimes very difficult to see the wood for the trees.

How can you find the right and relevant things among all the data? How can you determine your own position among all the opinions and ideas? And how can you still make well-considered decisions in the rush of everyday life?

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas.  Critical thinking has been the subject of much debate and thought since the time of early Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates and has continued to be a subject of discussion into the modern age, for example the ability to recognize fake news.

Critical thinking might be described as the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It requires you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner instead of a passive recipient of information and this skill allows you to make logical and informed decisions to the best of your ability.

Critical thinking: how?

Critical thinkers question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them immediately. They will seek to determine whether the ideas, arguments and findings represent the entire picture and are open to question the completeness of the theory. Critical thinkers will identify, analyze and solve problems systematically rather than by intuition or instinct.

Needed skills are observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, explanation and decision making. A critical thinker needs to be able to:

  • Think about a topic or issue in an objective and critical way.
  • Identify the different arguments there are in relation to a particular issue.
  • Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is.
  • Recognize any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
  • Notice what implications there might be behind a statement or argument.
  • Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that he/she wishes to make.

More information in Dutch

Watch this webinar for more information about critical thinking (in Dutch, 1h)