"Ignorance and despotism seem made for each other." Thomas Jefferson
Critical thinking skills have multiple purposes:
Evaluating premises and conclusions
Comparing and contrasting
Distinguishing between fact/truth and artificial constructs
Encouraging independent thinking
Engendering creative thinking
Promoting rational decision-making
Critical thinking increases intellectual honesty.
In the Sciences, critical thinking skills are essential. Formulating a hypothesis, for example, requires objective thought. In the Social Sciences and Humanities, many courses require analysis. For example, writing an Argumentative paper for an English course calls for the ability to view an issue from at least two sides. Many other courses--Political Science, Philosophy, Mass Communication, Sociology, Journalism, and Criminal Justice--to name a few, require students to ask questions and evaluate statements. Critical thinking is interdisciplinary, cross-curricular.
At St. Louis Community College, the Capstone course description includes the phrase "higher-order thinking." That kind of thinking goes beyond the surface. It examines the basis and consequences of proposals, statements, and viewpoints.
A major benefit of acquiring critical thinking skills is the ability to evaluate information presented in all forms of media, especially online information.
St. Louis Community College Libraries
Florissant Valley Campus Library
Forest Park Campus Library
Meramec Campus Library
Wildwood Campus Library