Understanding Critical Thinking
Thinking may come naturally to us but constructive reasoning certainly does not. Constructive thinking is a skill. It is certainly not true that we are naturally endowed with the ability to think clearly and logically; without learning how and without practicing. The same commitment, training, and skill that is required to be a good golfer, for playing tennis, building houses, or for playing some musical instrument are also required in order to be a good thinker. People who have never worked to develop their conceptual capabilities should no more expect to think clearly and logically than those people who have never learned and never practiced can expect to find themselves good golfers, house builders, or violinists. Critical thinking is the basis of effective reasoning and the foundations of constructive science.
Critical thinking is about trying to understand our processes of reasoning and develop standards for improving them. Critical thinking is a way of thinking about any subject in which the person improves the quality of their thinking by assessing, analyzing, deconstructing and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is a form of metacognition, it is self-directed and self-monitored; it is about developing the conceptual tools to be able to think for oneself. It requires assent to rigorous standards of excellence in judgment and thinking and conscious command of their use in trying to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.