Monday, November 10, 2014


 Noncritical thinking is mindless, homogeneous, unstructured, reflexive, and emotional.

Critical thinking means “making clear, reasoned judgments. While in the process of critical thinking, your thoughts should be reasoned and well thought out or judged.” (Wikipedia). So what’re the anti-critical or uncritical thinking patterns? And how to manipulate our thinking in a more constructively critical way?
Unstructured thinking could be opposite to critical thinking. Critical thinking is also called structured thinking. So unstructured thinking could be a mindset for the opposite thinking. Using a structured model to think critically, such models list traits of a critical thinker (such as intellectual humility, independent contemplation), elements of critical thinking (such as considering alternatives), and criteria/factors (such as clarity) that can be used to evaluate the quality of thinking. Critical thinking then, rather than being an absolute, becomes a spectrum which can be accessed on the basis of these traits and elements and factors. So the opposite of critical thinking then is an absence of these traits and elements and factors.

Group Thinking: "Group Thinking" or homogeneous thinking is another thinking pattern that is following the crowd. Many business and political mistakes are a result of groupthink, due to lack of cogitative difference and heterogeneous leadership. Critical thinking is asking questions and debating answers from all perspectives. Healthy debate and argument are missing from businesses and society as a whole. Cultivating Clarity by use of the following 7C formula: Compare, Contrast, Clarity, Connect, Create, Choose with Confidence.
Mindlessness: Mindlessness is perhaps the opposite of critical thinking as well; because it is just that, mindless: reflexive thinking, autonomic response, pattern behavior -following a pattern or accepting behavior "without thinking" or "because it's always been done that way before." Critical Thinking goes hand in hand with being mindful. Critical thinkers apparently include reading between the lines; digging deeper; thinking skeptically and coming prepared.

The opposite of critical thinking is emotional thinking as well: Although they can overlap, when you let emotions (likes, preferences, brand, etc...) unduly influence the decision making, then your emotions supersede the critical thinking. If the thinking is being driven by strong emotions, we know emotions can blind us seeing clearly all the aspects to be considered in a situation. Critical thinking drives clear thinking. Clear thinking includes both rational thinking (compare and contrast, define the frame of reference, etc.) and creative thinking (a result of holding the contrasting factors in the mind until something new appears).

The opposite of critical thinking also includes "reflexive thinking": Because the essence of critical thinking is careful deliberation, examination, and testing of assumptions, and consideration of opposing views. Critical thinking is about problems involves looking at the question first to determine whether it's true or false. Often what we think are problems or questions aren't the real problems or questions. Then applying critical thinking to discover the true matters; there are the unconscious and behavioral issues to address - even down to the behavior involved in the problem or question. Is it conscious behavior or subconscious behavior? Why is the behavior a problem? Or is it? Where the biases occurring and what are they?

Wishful thinking would also fit the opposite of critical thinking. Wishful thinking does not require evidence or analysis, but it requires a faith in wanting an outcome to match what we already believe. In short critical thinking aims to close the gap left to faith to the minimum, and faith as a value aims at shutting off critical thinking; blind faith = blind assumptions = unconscious biases. Conformation bias is the biggest impediment to critical thinking. It's the bias that makes us look for people "like us." While critical thinking more accustomed to strategizing, objective, problem-solving and determining outcomes, and probabilities.

One of the most precise definitions of critical thinking has been expounded in Kahneman's book "Thinking, Fast and Slow." He refers to these as System 1 and 2.
1) Critical Thinking, System 2 thinking, involves deliberate, reflective thinking based on reason, evidence, and research of facts using credible sources.

2) The opposite of Critical Thinking, System 1 thinking, is characterized by snap judgments, reflexive emotional responses, and is often based on false premises and biased opinions.

To put simply, the opposite of critical thinking is uncritical thinking, or "superficial" thinking - where the common definition of superficial is existing/occurring on the surface. It has many more patterns such as automatic, self-protected, unexamined thinking, theoretical thinking, etc. But critical thinking goes deeper, look around the corner, shoot the tangle to see from the different angles and examine more closely in order to make effective decisions.


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