- Question the Evidence
- Establish Criteria
- Learn about Logic
- Learn about Logical Fallacies
- Identify the Premise
- Learn about Cognitive Bias
- Identify your Emotions
- Identify your Genetic Instincts
- Question your indoctrination
- Try to Prove yourself Wrong
Question the Evidence
Whenever you are analyzing something try to to question the validity of the evidence. Is the evidence correct? What reasons do we have for trusting the evidence? Claims should be backed up with some evidence that can stand up to skepticism.
It is good to establish a set criteria when analyzing subjects. As an example if we are choosing which car to buy we might set certain criteria on gas mileage, mileage, brand, and price. We would then apply these criteria fairly to each car in our evaluations. The same might go for philosophies or religions. We would need to establish criteria by which to judge them evenly and fairly.
Understanding logic will help us process information better and formulate better beliefs, claims, and arguments. Learning about logic goes along way to help us improve our critical thinking, the two are like peanut butter and jelly.
Learn about Logical Fallacies
Learning about logical fallacies will help you identify others claims that are built in a logically fallacious manner and structure. Another reason to learn about logical fallacies is to prevent your self from making claims and arguments that are structurally fallacious.
Identify the Premise
When hearing a claim or analyzing a statement it is important to identify the premise. When you identify the premise you can decide if it is valid or agreeable. If you do not agree with the premise of a statement or claim you cannot continue further. Instead, you must regress back and try to figure out a valid premise, if one exists.
Learn about Cognitive Bias
A Cognitive Bias is a weird trick where the mind distorts reality. Having a knowledge of what cognitive biases are will help you identify them when you do them and when others do them.
Identify your Emotions
Knowing your emotions will help you understand your urges and decisions better. Being able to recognize and identify your emotions will help you key into actions and behaviors that seem good at the time but are actually not appropriate.
Identify Genetic Instincts
Deep genetic instincts might drive us to behaviors and actions that are not critically thought out. The loyalty to the tribe, a deep genetic instinct, might make us violent toward others where this type of behavior is completely unwarranted, unjust, and immoral.
Question your Indoctrination
We are all indoctrinated into things growing up. Whether it is jingoistic patriotism, religion, racial, or political almost all of us have been indoctrinated into a belief. In order to think critically we need to question and test the validity of these indoctrinations.
Try to Prove yourself Wrong
In order to think critically we have to admit we are wrong a lot. No one has all the answers. If you try to prove your beliefs and ideas wrong and test them you will help yourself admit error more. The more errors we get rid of in our beliefs the more likely we are to hold good logical beliefs.