10 Keys to Critical Thinking

Recently I finished a class on Critical Thinking Skills and saw the value of incorporating these ideas into a more standard method of solving complex problems. Like most everyone, I've been involved in my share of debates on a variety of topics on sticky subjects such as economics, politics, evolution and religion. It seemed to be a wise decision to document a standard set of steps to carefully evaluate tough questions before attempting a conclusion.

Even if these are very brief and somewhat generic, I think they could be a great value so here are my thoughts on just such a standard method:

    Part 1: Preparation before attempting to solve:

  1. Think with a clear purpose in mind
  2. Seek to clarify the exact question you're trying to answer
  3. Be aware of your own bias and ego and try to eliminate them as much as possible
  4. Be dedicated to finding absolute truth
  5. In general Question Everything, yourself included
  6. Part 2: Solving and documenting the issue:

  7. Consider the opinions far from your own, other people, times and places included
  8. Research in depth with credible sources
  9. Carefully consider and test your assumptions
  10. Think things through to its logical conclusion
  11. Organize conclusions and document results

    One last item to keep in mind, some questions are beyond our skill, and humility should be the our guide.

    Consider Job 38:

  1. Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
  2. Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?
  3. Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
  4. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.


© Copyright Paul Asay 2011