Introduction to

Critical Thinking
Skills
Presented by Lynne April
Reading and Writing Facilitator
aprill@unisa.ac.za
Analogy
Dependence
• Give someone a fish and
they will eat whole day
Self-reliance
• Team them how to fish
and they will never go
hungry
Learning Skills
What is Critical Thinking?
• A process of applying reasoned and disciplined thoughts
to a subject.
• Involves the ability to actively and skillfully
conceptualize, analyze, question and evaluate ideas and
beliefs.
• Is the opposite of dogma. Dogma is unquestioned
information — information that is embraced without the
intervention of active thought or criticism.
• Is to question the ideas and beliefs of others and oneself
and to challenge dogma and authority.
Steps to Critical Thinking
Steps to Critical Thinking
Identify Assumptions
• If there is no evidence and it
hasn’t been proved – it is an
assumption.
Check Accuracy &
Validity
• Research information and find whether what is being
communicated is valid and factual.
Consider Alternative
Perspective
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZgT1SRcrKE
Critical thinking
Strategies
• Consciously raising questions
• Being aware of gaps in information
• Probing for assumptions
• Appropriately drawing inferences from data
• Being aware of one’s own reasoning
• Testing one’s own reasoning
• Performing hypothetical deductive reasoning
Critical Thinking
Strategies
• Note missing
evidence
• Identify relationships
• Cause and effect
• Summarize
information
• Determine credibility
• Recognize patterns
• Classifying
information
• Identify ambiguity
• Identify variables
• Formulate questions
• Identify
issue/problem
Why Should We Be
Critical Thinkers
Look at four reasons why it matters:
• Self- defense
• Empowerment
• Civic Duty

More concrete, but it becomes more abstract and
philosophical
Critical Thinking for Self-
defense
• Why do people take martial arts classes?

Answer: In order to protect themselves from
potential danger if necessary.
The Analogy
• People to do physical harm




• Powerful institutions are in the “influence business”. It
is their JOB to influence our beliefs, values and actions in
ways that are in contradiction to our true-self interest.
(when being influenced we might be harmed)
Constant Tug of War
• MTN
• Coke
• ANC
• Conservative
• Mac
• Religious
• Cell C
• Pepsi
• DA
• Liberal
• PC
• Non-religious
The Science of Influence
• Companies hire professionals to reach their
objectives.
• People become strategists of the art of
persuasion.
• Your reaction to the strategies implemented
are irrational compared to your true self-
interest.
A Good Education in
Critical Thinking
• Can immunize us be learning how to
discriminate between good and bad
reasoning for belief and action.
• Can sensitize us to the sophisticated
manipulations, psychological tactics, bad
arguments and non-arguments used by
powerful institutions.

Thinking to Empower
Ourselves
Common View
Logic and
argumentation
Rhetoric and
psychology
Tools for Critical Thinking
• Logic
• Argumentation
• Rhetoric
• Psychology
Critical Thinking and
Civic Duty
• “Liberal Democracy”

• Liberal freedom and equality

• Democracy rule by the people
Questions
• “What role does critical thinking play
in a democratic society?”

• “Do citizens of a democratic country
have a civic duty to cultivate their
critical thinking skills?”
Worrisome
• We don’t teach critical thinking at schools.
• Only a fraction of university and college
students take a critical thinking course.
• Global trend is the further marginalization
of liberal arts education.