We started our journey into critical thinking by recognizing and  admitting that much of our thinking is flawed, biased, and downright  wrong (scary isn’t it?)!  We further saw that the consequences of  limited and restrained thinking permeates and greatly limits every  aspect of how we define others, ourselves, and the world at large.

We further examined some of the realities of egocentric thinking  (e.g., It’s true because….I believe it, …we believe it, ….I want to  believe it, etc.).  We often tend to believe that the world revolves  around us and that other perspectives are at best less valuable than our  own.  Let me provide you a personal example of what I am talking  about.  Growing up, I was raised in a working class household, attended  conservative churches, and hung out with opinionated friends.  I lived a  sheltered life and had few life experiences.  I believed that many of  the world’s most complex and controversial issues were black and white:  Clearly right or wrong depending on MY view of the issue!  I was an  expert on everything.  I could not only provide people with answers to  questions they might have, I had THE answer to those questions.  Because  of numerous changes in my personal life relatively recently (life  experiences, teaching, extensive world travel, an increased willingness  to unbiasedly learn about others, etc.), I no longer believe this and  indeed strongly feel that many of my preconceived values and beliefs  were way off base once I was willing to be objective in my views.  I was  under the impression that I was a critical thinker; looking at the  evidence that was impossible.  Looking back at it, I was anything but a  critical thinker.  Through much work, I have worked towards becoming a  true critical thinker.  Though I sense I have made much progress, I can  hardly say I am a polished critical thinker; I still have much work to  do!

***************************************ASSIGNMENT BELOW**************************************************

First, consider if YOU are truly a  critical thinker.  Do you meet the standards of critical thinking listed  under the result section on the “Why critical thinking” page of your  booklet?  Do YOU adhere to any of the “It’s true statements…” listed  on the “Problem of egocentric thinking” page?  Are YOU truly a critical  thinker or do you simply want to believe that you are?  Is it a good  thing to be a critical thinker?  If yes, why?  If no, why not?

Second, please thoughtfully and thoroughly read the “Universal  Intellectual Standards” pages in your booklet and provide us your  thoughts and feelings.  Furthermore, discuss which universal  intellectual standard listed you believe is the most difficult to apply  to critical thinking?  Why?


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