Monday, January 13, 2020

How Does Critical Thinking Promote Creativity?

Gazi Hassan

When one hears the word ‘critical thinking’, the first thing that comes to the mind may be the negative connotations attached to it. This is because the focus is on the word and one assumes that thinking critically must be negative, requiring to criticise or be critical of something one reads, hears or watches. Critical thinking should not be assumed to be synonymous with criticising. Once a person learns to think critically, he/she might criticise an argument or claim but the thinking will be thoughtfully reasoned, considerate, quick and not reflexive.

The term critical thinking refers to a way of thinking, an analytical stance one takes with regards to assessing claims that he/she has read, heard or seen. It is “the careful application of reason in the determination of whether a claim is true.” “Judicious reasoning about what to believe and therefore, what to do.” It requires a careful intentional thinking using reason and logic and applying that to real-world problems. Its helps in evaluating all parts of a claim and allows to determine whether one agrees or disagrees.

When we engage in critical thinking, our goal is to determine whether the claim before us is true or not and then use the assessment to decide what action or actions need to be taken. Ultimately, when we are asked to think critically, we are being asked to take a position regarding the truth or acceptability of something we have read, heard or watched. Critical thinking means being creative, and adaptable; evaluating the evidence to decide for yourself what is accurate, what is relevant and do you have the sufficient information to take a decision on a particular topic or issue.

While assessing any claim we come up with arguments—basically a collection of statements. There is a need to ask what an argument stands for. Making an argument and evaluating it is one of the key functions of critical thinking. Once the arguments are reached to differentiate on merits, one should see whether there is a logical connection between these arguments.

For this, we need to again go back to the sources and ask various questions. For example, if it is a research, ask questions like when was it written, how was the research funded and what methods were used to find the evidence? The question over the objectivity of the findings needs to be taken care of. Personal bias should be kept aside while assessing a claim. We need to look for more perspectives or views that could be looked upon. With these questions, we analyse the sources, compare them with other sources and on the basis of that reach findings or a conclusion.

Critical thinking begins with formulating a question or assessing a problem. This is succeeded by gathering information. The information gathered is then applied to the problem and while doing this we need to consider its implication. The concepts, assumptions and interpretations should be taken into consideration and end the analysis with exploring other point of views.

Thus, critical thinking is crucial for self-reflection and helps to separate facts and opinions. It also enhances an individual’s reasoning ability, analytical skills, creativity, efficiency, decision making, comprehensive skills and problem solving skills.

Gazi Hassan is Senior Research Associate at CPPR-Centre for Strategic Studies. Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of Centre for Public Policy Research.

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