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Critical Thinking

The critical thinking model is a skill that can be developed to do three very
important functions. Those three function are to notice errors in a conclusion, address
said errors, and correct them. Critical thinking is the final level of thinking in this three
tiered model. The first level being Rhetoric, or thinking with ones emotions and
prejudices. This level of thinking is usually considered incorrect, or wrong, as emotional
thinking tends to cloud sound judgment on any given topic. The second level is Dialectic
thinking. This is the art of finding errors in a given thing. This second level of thought is
incomplete because it does not allow for solution to the errors that can occur in any
thought process. This level of thought only provides a way of finding those errors. The
main advantage to being able to detect an error in any conclusion is the ability it then
gives a person to address said error. It can also lead an individual to finding ways that
can potentially avoid that particular error, or similar errors in the future. This arena is
where critical thinking outshines, and compliments the other two forms of thought within
the critical thinking model.
or e!ample"
# person is told that chickens cannot fly.
If the person hearing this statement used only rhetoric thinking, they could come
to one of two conclusions. The first conclusion they may come to is to just accept this
statement taking it at face value. This route leads to the danger of believing something
which is not true, a type one error. $n the other hand if for whatever reason they have a
strong belief that anything with wings can fly, they might come to the second possible
conclusion. They might insist that because it has wings it can fly. The person might be
prejudiced towards the person or thing telling them chickens cannot fly and refuse to
believe it on principle contrary to any evidences that may be shown. This issue illustrates
the major downfall of rhetoric thinking. $ne can be lead to erroneous ideas purely due to
prejudice, or past e!perience.
%ow suppose a person continued on to step two of our critical thinking model.
They would then use Dialectic thinking to address the issue. That person might take the
time to observe a chicken either in person or through video. They may then notice that
the chicken does in fact have wings, but that their wings seem small compared to its body
si&e. They may then relate the difference found in chickens to the wingspan of other
birds and their body si&es. They may also notice that a chicken, when flapping their
wings, does little to achieve lift. This process does, however, give a small measure of lift
to the chicken. They may even notice that while chickens do walk fairly adeptly, they
tend to roost in trees or other high places re'uiring some form of vertical ascension
ability.
If this person simply stopped with Dialectic thinking, they have not proved or
disproved the original statement. The person would need to continue on to the third level
of the critical thinking model to come to an educated and more correct conclusion. (ith
critical thinking, one would continue along the deductive thought process. They may
come to a conclusion and say Chickens do have wings, but they are small. Their wings
do give lift, but not a great amount. Chickens naturally pick higher roosting areas
re'uiring the ability to ascend a certain level of height. )ecause of the handicaps
chickens posess, they can not sustain flight well enough to fly for any length of time, but
they can achieve short intervals of aviation. Therefore, one could in fact correct the
original statement by saying something to the effect of, *#ctually, chickens can fly, just
not very well or for sustained periods of time.* This allows not only the critical thinker to
be able to teach another, but also allows them to apply this knowledge later. +specially if
*Chickens cannot fly* was a difficulty in trying to devise a suitable housing structure for
them. (ith the knowledge gained from critical thinking one would be able to suggest
potential solutions that included limited flight.
,nowledge of these three levels of thinking allows for individual businesses to
essentially si&e up the position and disposition of rival businesses. They can use the
knowledge gained by these processes to further their own ends. -ome conclusions a
business can come to among many others are" .ow time is managed effectively, .ow to
move a product efficiently through a manufacturing process, and how specific shifts are
handled to achieve optimum employee performance. In internal workings, if a business
had critical thinkers at all levels, and a reliable method of reporting found discrepancies
and shortcomings, as well as potential solutions, many of the avoidable and more
crippling errors of their products or practices could be addressed before production and
distribution. .aving these processes in place could also allow for smoother transition to
new ideas or practices. Due in major part to the fact that critical thinking lends itself well
to change.
The antithesis of critical thinking is what the critical thinking model calls
*nonsense*. %onsense is an idea or philosophical viewpoint that can in no way be
proven, measured, or 'uantified nor can it be perceived with the five senses. /any things
in critical thinking are labeled nonsense. This is in fact one of the main weaknesses of
critical thinking, in that an idea may be considered nonsensical when one simply does not
have the needed tools to show the sense of it. 0erms could be considered nonsense if you
do not have a microscope. (ithout the proper tools how can one show physical evidence1
The scientific community prides itself on its critical thinking. .owever they believe the
core of the earth is li'uid while having absolutely &ero real physical evidence of it. The
idea sits on theories of how something should work. Is it a valid conclusion1 -ure. Do
we have hard physical evidence1 %o. This is where Rhetorical thinking can be applied
advantageously. #s having faith that the idea is sound and continuing on with it is often
the only way a block to progress can be overcome.
Critical thinking is a very good and useful tool, it allows ideas to be weighed and
assigned usefulness and workability. -ociety needs to apply much more of it to create a
better world for ourselves. It should however, be used carefully so that we do not fall
into a trap of ignoring a plausible thing just because it isn2t currently provable, or the trap
of believing we are thinking critically but are actually in fact thinking with too much
rhetoric and deluding ourselves into believing true nonsense because we disguised our
own prejudices as facts in our own minds.