Critical Thinking


I have been thinking, in this election season, about the art of critical thinking.  There’s not a lot of it around at the moment.  I know this, because I used to teach it to undergrads, and I always pointed out that if they would learn this skill, no one could ever make a fool of them.  Yet fools abound.

Here’s a definition of critical thinking from a pretty neat page I found:

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (

There are a lot of lies being told just now, many of them masquerading under the guise of “fact” taken out of context, misread, misinterpreted, falsified, etc., etc. . . . If we are willing to believe whatever comes before us instead of using our powers of reasoning, of careful reading, checking of sources, and questioning motivations and agendas including our own, perhaps we need to ask ourselves what our own motivations and agendas are.

And THAT is the last thing I will say about this particular election, except that I am embarrassed to be an American just now.