Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings.

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.

“The process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion”.

“Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence”.

Critical thinking is the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.

It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome individual and group biases.

Critical thinking is disciplined information processing as a guide to action

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

Defining Critical Thinking

The Modern Critical Thinker

When we talk about “Critical Thinking”, we put the emphasis on the adjective “Critical”, but the subject is “Thinking”: the modern critical thinker is the one who time ago was called “Wise”.

According to Treccani:

Being wise; being able to follow reason in behavior and judgement, moderation in desires, balance and caution in distinguishing good and bad, evaluating situations and in decision-making, in talking and in acting, as a reward deriving from experience, from meditation on things, and that is first of all related to moral behavior and generally on the practical activities.”

The Critical Thinker, as the Wise, is true, shall be equipped to comprehend and evaluate when is submitted to their acceptance (theoretical and practical); by the way, the Critical Thinker is also who reasons and propose reasoned solutions, makes balanced decisions, using effective methods.

—Pietro Alotto, Educare ad una “Nuova Saggezza” (original in Italian. Translation is mine)

Critical thinking skills:

  • understand the logical connections between ideas
  • identify, construct and evaluate arguments
  • detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
  • solve problems systematically
  • identify the relevance and importance of ideas
  • reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values