Critical Thinking is the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion, based on accurate assessment of conditions, context and proper Discernment.
In developing greater skills of accurate assessment of the conditions to which we are exposed, we will need to integrate the mental body's critical thinking skills with our heart's intelligence, such as developing our intuitive feelings, and Higher Sensory Perception to have higher degree of personal clarity.
Critical thinking is not usually conceptualized as a process we should synthesize with our heart's feelings, and most intellectuals will refuse to accept this analogy of critical thinking. However, to have more informed awareness and to achieve Coherence within our perceptions of reality, we will be required to merge the heart-brain with the external perception of events, simultaneously. Applying critical thinking in order to develop strong and accurate discernment of events, as well as applying the wisdom based upon our analysis in when to take action or non action in situations.
Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as:
- disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence"
- "reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do"
- "purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based"
- "includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs"
- the skill and propensity to engage in an activity with reflective scepticism
- disciplined, self-directed thinking which exemplifies the perfection of thinking appropriate to a particular mode or domain of thinking
- thinking about one's thinking in a manner designed to organize and clarify, raise the efficiency of, and recognize errors and biases in one's own thinking.
Critical thinking is not 'hard' thinking nor is it directed at solving problems (other than 'improving' one's own thinking). Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality and Coherence of the thinker. One does not use critical thinking to solve problems—one uses critical thinking to improve one's process of thinking. Such as making an appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation, as well as considering the intuitive insights that are felt in the circumstances.
Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness. Some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.