"Thinking" in Popular Culture

We have said so many good things about critical thinking that you might have the impression that "critical thinking" and "good thinking" mean the same thing. But that is not what the experts said. They see critical thinking as making up part of what we mean by good thinking, but not as being the only kind of good thinking. For example, they would have included creative thinking as part of good thinking.

Creative or innovative thinking is the kind of thinking that leads to new insights, novel approaches, fresh perspectives, whole new ways of understanding and conceiving of things. The products of creative thought include some obvious things like music, poetry, dance, dramatic literature, inventions, and technical innovations. But there are some not so obvious examples as well, such as ways of putting a question that expand the horizons of possible solutions, or ways of conceiving of relationships which challenge presuppositions and lead one to see the world in imaginative and different ways.

The experts working on the concept of critical thinking wisely left open the entire question of what the other forms good thinking might take. Creative thinking is only one example. There is a kind of purposive, kinetic thinking that instantly coordinates movement and intention as, for example, when an athlete dribbles a soccer ball down the field during a match. There is a kind of meditative thinking which may lead to a sense of inner peace or to profound insights about human existence. In contrast, there is a kind of hyper-alert, instinctive thinking needed by soldiers in battle. In the context of popular culture one finds people proposing all kinds of thinking or this-kind of intelligence or that-kind of intelligence. Some times it is hard to sort out the science from the pseudo-science the kernel of enduring truth from the latest cocktail party banter.

 

Disposition Toward Critical Thinking Back Next "Thinking" in Cognitive Science

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