Introduction To Critical Thinking

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 JS Hanniffy 5 Comments

The aim of the critical thinking module in Psychology is to develop ability student of psychology and to understand, evaluate reasoning. This module requires the students to think critically in theoretical, practical, and historical. And the most important is to draw conclusions and evaluating evidence --- this module will be match for those who like think critically; as the module leads on how to critic rightly.

In other words, the students should be able; to distinguish an argument from explanation or a description; analyse an argument into its premises and conclusion; distinguish inductive from deductive argumentation; and explain the relationship between validity and truth in reasoning.

The recommendation book about critical thinking can be found in Informal Logic, which is written by Douglas N. Watson. Other books about critical thinking also recommended. 

There are a lot of topics you can find to be criticized such as political debate, scientific controversies, ethical problems, health issues, etc. And your job in here is to see and evaluate the strength and the weakness of arguments by using critical methods. 

The topics usually will come together much more or under logical pragmatic; this means the dialogue focus on reasons to carry out a goal. However, the opposite of logical pragmatic is logical theory or semantical; the logical theory is usually focus to make up an argument.

Both logical pragmatic and logical theory have advantage and disadvantage on an argument; according to this you need to be careful when seeing to details on a dialogue as it may lead the argument to a bad argument or empty talk; Also sometimes misunderstanding pose a pragmatic problem. To be a good (I actually prefer to say ‘to be right’) critical thinking person is to follow the critical method rightly; you recognise the true or false of the statement.

Here are types of dialogue that you may already recognise in a daily life:

         Dialogue     Initial situation          Method                  Goal

  1. Quarrel       Emotional                Personal attack     Hit out at other
  2. Debate       Forensic,                  Verbal                 Impress
  3. Persuasion  Difference opinion      Internal/external  Persuade other
  4. Negotiation Different of interests  Bargaining           Personal gain

By recognising those types of dialogue can prevent you from misunderstanding in a dialogue; lead the argument to rules that made by participants. 

Here is an example of persuasion dialogue (critical discussion):

“A is committed who is arguing that God does not exist. B is a believer God, and she is trying to convince Mary that God does exist. Each person is trying to refute the thesis of the other".

The example above, both A and B have the same type of obligation, namely to prove their thesis. The both have a positive burden of proof. In a persuasion dialogue, the basic goal is to prove a thesis in order to resolve an issue.

However, a dialogue such as type quarrel is sometimes easy come to in an argument; this type dialogue usually only using their emotional; according to this the emotion usually is irrelevant or fallacious deception and distraction in the argument. 

To close this introduction, I want to add my favourite quote from Douglas Watson: “Personal attack is always dangerous and often leads to heightened emotions and bitter quarrels instead of reasoned discussion of an issu". 

DBLN, 13.16-090210


  1. wah, ditunggu lanjutannya Jeng... :-)

  2. hm.. kalo diliat dari tulisan lu, berarti sebagian besar psikolog menguasai dengan baik ilmu komunikasi ya jeng?

  3. mo belajar jadi pengkritisi yang baik

  4. ---Mayoritas memang psikolog diharus memang begitu dul...


Nice saying shows your character but that doesn't mean you can criticize. You can still do both in nice and polite way.

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