Sydney Kendall Says

Thinking in public about anything that matters.

Thoughts on Critical Thinking

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Critical thinking.   I try to be conscientious about it.   I’ve always been super-demanding with myself about this, even as a young child.  And it’s not easy, because you have to be on your mental toes all the time.  It can get exhausting, especially when you enter the world of the issues of the day and are confronted with so freakin’ many assertions that need to be hunted down to their sources in sound, reliable evidence.  And even when a person is super-conscientious – I know this first-hand – you can still slip up and accept something on less than a fully sound foundation from time-to time.

So it’s great to surround oneself with others who are also conscientious about evidence, who can catch one’s own boo-boos when they occur.

But the most important thing is *not* to somehow hunt every key assertion down to sound evidence.  That’s actually impossible.  One doesn’t have to know the answer about everything, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in every case, as much as some of us might feel compelled to do so.  One only has to be careful to keep aware of when you don’t actually know enough to draw a conclusion.

And you can help others by identifying when they have not presented enough evidence to convince a careful mind of their case.

 

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  1. SydneyKendall wrote: “it’s great to surround oneself with others who are also conscientious about evidence, who can catch one’s own boo-boos when they occur.”

    This is a very important point. It should be one of our most important aims in life.

    Rather than gravitating towards or attracting to you people who seem to agree with you, have a circle of thinkers.

    Not great or brilliant thinkers. Not “open minded” people as such.

    Rather, HONEST thinkers.

    Fortunately, there are lots of such people around.

    I certainly have no shortage of such friends.

    How to test an honest thinker?

    Well, you won’t find them on matters of agreement.

    The test happens when friends disagree.

    We talk. We disagree. What happens next?

    That’s when it gets interesting. 🙂

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