Traits of a Critical Thinker

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The following are the intellectual traits that a critical thinker possesses. Critical thinking allows one to make an informed judgment. Since we are all thinking individuals, critical thinking then is a necessary tool of life. One needs to develop critical thinking in order to maximize opportunities and minimize problems.

Assess yourself by determining how you practice or manifest each trait in your life.

1) Intellectual Integrity

Intellectual integrity means to always aim to be true to your own thoughts and decisions sometimes at the risk of losing friends or losing face. Although such extreme situations seldom occur. Intellectual integrity is trying to arrive at the truth even if it means you will be proved wrong in the end. Truth matters.

2). Intellectual Sense of Justice

Being fair to all parties concern as much as possible. For instance, if friends quarrel, try to listen to the views of all parties concern before arriving at own conclusion. Do not make premature judgment but rather allow people to air their sides first before forming one.

3). Intellectual Perseverance

Being not the type to give up easily. If something bothers you, think things through no matter how long it takes. For instance, if you can’t understand a math or physics assignment, don’t give up easily on the problem and try to understand the underlying principles behind it until it is solved.

4). Intellectual Courage

Being open to all ideas even those considered ‘dangerous’ or ‘radical’. You don’t necessarily adhere to other opinions but still try to listen to them no matter how difficult it seems to be. Always aim to take the middle ground. Do not espouse the extreme views but do pay attention to them.

5) Intellectual autonomy

Be independent when it comes to forming an opinion. Try to stay informed, read as much as you can or listen to others before deciding which side or course to take.

Don’t let others try to manipulate you. Don’t be easily persuaded by emotional pleas.

6). Intellectual Fair-mindedness

Being good at assessing situations without getting too personal even if the situation involves you. Learn to detach yourself from the issues and get to the bottom of the problem without biases.

7) Intellectual Confidence in Reason.

Don’t be overly emotional and put emotions ahead of reason. Follow your instincts in choosing but always have a good reason behind it. Have a clear idea on what you want to do or where you want to go. Don’t let others think for you. Have confidence in your decision-making ability after examining all facts and using reason.

8). Intellectual Humility

Be NOT too proud to admit limitations. Having too much confidence in intellectual ability makes it hard sometimes to admit you are wrong or that you overlook something.
Always be intellectually humble to admit that sometimes other’s views or ideas could be better. Take the best course of action even if it is other’s idea.

9). Intellectual Empathy

Empathize with people whose ideas opposed with yours or those that you deem to have wronged you. Exert effort to be able to genuinely try to understand those people who do not seem to be at your wavelength. Sometimes one man’s blessing is another man’s curse. So it is not impossible that those who opposed your views do not intend to do you harm but they just so happen to perceive things differently.


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