Universal intellectual standards: We started our journey into critical thinking by recognizing and admitting that much of our thinking is flawed, biased, and downright wrong (scary isn’t it?)! We further saw that the consequences of limited and restrained thinking permeates and greatly limits every aspect of how we define others, ourselves, and the world at large.
We further examined some of the realities of egocentric thinking (e.g., It’s true because….I believe it, …we believe it, ….I want to believe it, etc.). We often tend to believe that the world revolves around us and that other perspectives are at best less valuable than our own. Let me provide you a personal example of what I am talking about.
Growing up, I was raised in a working class household, attended conservative churches, and hung out with opinionated friends. I lived a sheltered life and had few life experiences. I believed that many of the world’s most complex and controversial issues were black and white: Clearly right or wrong depending on MY view of the issue!
I could not only provide people with answers to questions they might have, I had THE answer to those questions. Because of numerous changes in my personal life relatively recently (life experiences, teaching, extensive world travel, an increased willingness to unbiasedly learn about others, etc.), I no longer believe this and indeed strongly feel that many of my preconceived values and beliefs were way off base once I was willing to be objective in my views. I was under the impression that I was a critical thinker; looking at the evidence that was impossible.
Looking back at it, I was anything but a critical thinker. Through much work, I have worked towards becoming a true critical thinker. Though I sense I have made much progress, I can hardly say I am a polished critical thinker; I still have much work to do!
First, consider if YOU are truly a critical thinker. Do you meet the standards of critical thinking listed under the result section on the “Why critical thinking” page of your booklet? Do YOU adhere to any of the “It’s true statements…” listed on the “Problem of egocentric thinking” page? Are YOU truly a critical thinker or do you simply want to believe that you are? Is it a good thing to be a critical thinker? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Second, please thoughtfully and thoroughly read the “Universal Intellectual Standards” pages in your booklet and provide us your thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, discuss which universal intellectual standard listed you believe is the most difficult to apply to critical thinking? Why?