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Critical Thinking Puzzles and the Cornell Critical Thinking Test

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Critical Thinking Puzzles and the Cornell Critical Thinking Test

What is critical thinking? Essentially, critical thinking involves examining the implications and consequences of an argument, its implicit concepts, alternative viewpoints, and frame of reference. Critical thinking is part of a larger family of interwoven modes of thinking, including scientific, mathematical, historical, moral, and philosophical thinking. A good critical thinker demonstrates all of these aspects. If we are to engage in critical thinking, we must become aware of our emotions, and learn to channel them.

The first step in developing critical thinking is to practice recognizing bias. As children, we can infer that a particular picture depicting a daytime scene is daytime. Likewise, we can infer that a picture depicting a sunset is nighttime if the same image was drawn in the same light at a different time. Critical thinking is necessary for identifying the biases, alternative interpretations, and errors in reasoning.

Another element of critical thinking is its self-guided process. Critical thinkers try to reason at the highest possible level, while living as reasonably and rationally as possible. They seek to diminish the power of egocentrism and sociocentrism, and they do this by exercising their intellectual virtues. This requires self-discipline and a willingness to challenge our egocentricity. There are many ways to practice critical thinking, but here are some guidelines for advancing our skills.

Observational abilities are essential to assessing observation reports. They also show up on lists of critical thinking abilities such as Facione 1990a and Ennis 1991. The Cornell Critical Thinking Tests include items testing the credibility of an observation report. Another test for judging observation reports is the Norris and King appraisal task. In addition to the two lists above, we can look for other critical thinking skills, such as judging the authenticity of an observation report.

Moreover, critical thinking relates to the use of reason and creativity. We must balance creative imagination and critical appraisal in any activity, whether it is artistic, scientific, or technological. In a critical thinking process, we must not let our egos overshadow our intellect. Our minds are not designed to be lazy. Critical thinking allows us to think critically about our world. If we are not careful enough, we may be making mistakes that could lead to bad results.

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