Critical thinking is powered by questions

Critical thinking is one of those areas where we can always improve, especially considering the abundance of information that reaches us every day.

Albert Rutherford, in his book Lessons from Critical Thinking, explains that thinking is not powered by the answers given, but by the questions we ask1:

  • Asking yourself about the purpose of a task or piece of information can help you decide its intentionality.
  • Asking yourself where your information comes from can help you interrogate its quality and factuality, as can thinking about whether information is accurate.
  • Considering the point of view behind an answer can help interpret information through the lens of the person providing it.
  • One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is how something is logically argued. What is the logical process for reaching a conclusion you hold?

You can come up with your own set of questions. What’s important is not to fall prey of first impressions and make an effort to think critically.

  1. cfr Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Elements of Thought, quoted by Rutherford on p. 19 ↩︎

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