The importance of understanding why
Strongly skilled and fair-minded critical thinkers seek explanations. Beliefs, no matter how heartfelt, must be grounded in reasons and evidence to have genuine value. Vitriol does not equate to validity. Anger does not equate to accuracy. Sarcasm does not equate to scrutiny of the facts.
In times of divisiveness, thoughtfulness has the power to heal. Rather than making a fool out of our opposition, better that we try to understand exactly what that person believes and why. It is the “and why” that is most important for societies to flourish. We know we disagree, but what do those “other folks” really think?
Ask calmly, and with your critical thinking skills and listening skills fully engaged, “Can you help me understand why you say that?” or “OK, we disagree, but can we get past that and dig into the reasons why each of us thinks what we think?”
A Pathway for Coming Together
Celebrate all who teach for critical thinking and who demonstrate the power of patient, respectful, persistent, and yet always civil inquiry and discourse regarding the hot-button issues that divide us today.
Thank all the educators, parents, business professionals, government workers, agency directors, research scholars, and NGO’s who, in their own ways, are working to advance thinking worldwide.
Please, feel free to download “Cultivating A Positive Critical Thinking Mindset,” “Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts,” and “Top 10 Critical Thinking FAQs,” or any of the many other free resources on the resources tab of the Insight Assessment website.
Those interested in the critical thinking assessment tools and self-instructional critical thinking development modules I and my team have developed may wish to contact my publisher, Insight Assessment, www.insightassessment.com
Peter Facione, PhD—Advancing Thinking Worldwide
Facione is the Founder and a Senior Researcher at Insight Assessment, the provider of thinking measurement services for more than 30 years. He has advanced thinking worldwide through creating the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) and INSIGHT Development products used globally in numerous industries as well as academic and government organizations. As a principal at Measured Reasons LLC, a consulting firm supporting excellence in strategic thinking and leadership decision-making, he leads workshops, executive coaching sessions and speaks at conferences and conventions. A former Provost and Dean, Facione is the author of numerous papers, including “Critical Thinking: What it is and Why It Counts” and coauthor of two books, Think Critically (Pearson, 2016) and Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making (The California Academic Press, 2007).