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Similarly, critical thinking isn’t just a single monolithic ability that reduces to abstract logical forms.
Critical thinking skills – like all skills – take time, patience, and practice to develop. Consider also how you can work on those areas that are not so well-developed at the moment.
As a university student, it’s important to start trying to engage critically with your classmates, your lecturers and tutors, and your learning materials, even if you feel that this does not come easily or naturally to you.
Given what we know about how reason works, there’s a few things you can do: Since reason tends to be more to justify than to generate the right judgement, one way to avoid making mistakes is to reason about the same problem in a lot of different contexts.
The modular theory of mind says that rather than a single coordinated function, the brain consists of a lot of semi-autonomous modules that all “vote” their preferred action into the brain.
The argumentative theory of reason, which I covered in depth here, suggests that the seeming failure of many types of human reason are misinterpreted because they don’t recognize reason’s true function.
Instead of a general-purpose way of making better decisions, reason is a faculty for generating explanations and evaluating those of others.
You work through a few problem sets and, , I don’t think these methods deliver on their intended promise.
In particular, there’s a few facts about how our brain actually reasons that make this route to improved rationality a dubious one.
Many well-known problems of human reasoning disappear once you get a group of people together and let them talk about it.
Discussing your decision or judgement with others is a good way to see your ideas refuted or let stronger ideas win the day.