Part of the challenge of critical thinking is learning what skill sets are actually required for different tasks, what your toolbox should look like if you want to get better at those tasks.
And the other challenge is learning how to use the tools in the toolbox.
Think about the critical thinking skills I need to, say, diagnose my son’s physical symptoms as he’s lying in bed complaining about his stomach. Or figure out the best route to get downtown during rush hour. Or decide whether I should act on the investing advice that my brother-in-law is giving me.
And compare those with the skills I need to solve a logic puzzle. Or figure out the right thing to say to my kid after I discover pot in their bedroom.
The rule is that a given critical thinking task, or context, requires a constellation of skills, working together, to solve a problem successfully.
Some of these skills will be highly context-specific, and some will involve unconscious reasoning processes. Your knowledge of fallacies or cognitive biases is another tool.
Everyday people are face with numerous decisions to make and problems to solve.
Decision-making and problem solving is the very core in many aspects of life, yet some decision making can be very difficult to accomplish.
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