How I wish I could go back in time and undo many decisions that I’ve made. Hiring decisions. Buying decisions. Relationship ending decisions.
But I can’t, because time only moves forward.
If making poor choices were a disease, there might be a method, somewhere, that could completely cure this ill of mine. Probably not!
Yet, I’m drawn to the idea that a good dose of critical thinking, might ease the symptoms. I pride myself in that I choose to listen to a broad spectrum of news organizations from Fox News to NBC and even C-SPAN. Yet, I recognize that I do indeed have a bias. It can lead me to overreach.
I acknowledge that I am somewhat selective and emotional to a fault. Therefore, I tend not to instinctively think critically about what I hear.
If critical thinking is the cure, I’ll now begin to redouble my effort to live by reason and not emotion.
- decide what information is or is not pertinent;
- distinguish between rational claims and emotional ones;
- separate fact from opinion;
- recognize the ways in which evidence might be limited or compromised;
- spot deception and holes in the arguments of others;
- present his /her own analysis of the data or information;
- recognize logical flaws in arguments;
- draw connections between discrete sources of data and information;
- attend to contradictory, inadequate, or ambiguous information;
- construct cogent arguments rooted in data and not opinion;
- select the strongest set of supporting data;
- avoid overstated conclusions;
- find holes in the evidence and suggest additional information to collect;
- recognize that a problem may have no clear answer or single solution;
- propose other options and weigh them in the decision;
- consider all stakeholders or affected parties in suggesting a course of action;
- articulate the argument and the context for that argument;
- correctly and precisely use evidence to defend the argument;
- logically and cohesively organize the argument;
- avoid extraneous elements in an argument’s development;
- present evidence in an order that contributes to a persuasive argument?
It’s an impressive list.
According to Moore and Parker, if you achieve mastery over at least fifty plus one percent of the following twenty-one items, you will be well on your way to becoming a skilled critical thinker. That’s just 11 items, rounded to the nearest ones.
Yet, do good critical thinkers make better decisions? I need to consult an economist for that question.