Critical thinking is the ability to be in control of one’s thinking. It includes the ability to knowingly examine the elements of one’s reasoning or that of another, and evaluate that reasoning against common or universal intellectual standards – clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and logic. It also involves the structured examination of sources of information to determine his validity. Logic is emphasized by the critical thinking process as it requires questioning of assumptions and therefore it can challenge our normal biases and prejudices, and often change our thoughts about something that we originally perceived to be one what but actually turned out completely different. When trying to understand the nature of logic as it relates to the critical thinking process it seems that your first goal should be to find the truth. Some truths are obvious, and others are difficult to acquire.
Some judgments we make are simple; some judgments are complicated. Some arguments, whether made by us or others, may be straightforward and easily understood; other arguments may be complex and consist of a series of smaller arguments, each needing to be critically examined and evaluated. Critical thinking involves knowledge of the science of logic, including the skills of logical analysis, correct reasoning and also an understanding of statistical methods. Critical thinking, however, involves more than just an understanding of logical procedures in our thought processes. A good critical thinker must also understand the source and nature of knowledge and the nature of truth.
Perception is, according to dictionary.com, “the insight, intuition, or knowledge gained by perceiving.” Thus a perceptual block would be a malfunction in an individuals mind, which causes him or her to perceive things the way that the individual has learned it. The perceptual block is caused by the mind’s tendency to jump to a conclusion too rapidly. Thus, by helping a person to overcome perceptual blocks you are, in a sense, encouraging their ability to change both perspective and perception.
It is difficult to change a person’s perception of things. Especially if the way they think is due largely on the way the individual was raised. When we look at something, what we see appears to be all there is. However, perception is not limited to the physical act of seeing. It encompasses all the senses that are used to gather facts or observations. This is seen when we are given a new problem to work on, with incomplete facts. We jump to a conclusion on the basis of the facts we have, and then put our minds to work trying to justify that conclusion. Actually, we frequently block ourselves from even solving the problem satisfactorily because the jump to the conclusion that was made carried us to the wrong conclusion.
The nature of logic as it relates to critical thinking and my perceptual process have been influenced through sources of enculturation.
The nature of logic as understood is when you have a situation, belief, tradition, etc. that is examined and reviewed in great detail to discover the reasoning behind behavior. Critical thinking as I understand it is when you view a situation in multiple ways to get an accurate answer or results. The nature of logic relates to critical thinking by examining the situation and thoughts to get a clearer decision of possible outcomes, or reasoning. For instance, before heading to work you watch the news and their morning traffic update for possible accidents and road closures because you have an hour commute. On this particular morning, you hear the traffic reporter mention that your daily way to work has been closed due to a huge tractor-trailer accident. Logically, and using critical thinking you are able to come up with two alternate routes for getting to work on time. Using further logic and critical thinking you watch the news for further traffic details to make a final decision on one of two alternate choices. You hear that one of your choices is severely backed up, so you decide to go with you other decision to arrive at work punctually and safely.
Logic doesn’t just deal with thinking in general. Logic, as it relates to our critical thinking process, should enable us to develop the necessary skills to think correctly which is logical. To describe this as a simple definition would be “logic is the subject that teaches us the rules for correct and proper reasoning”.