The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence.
κριτικός = kritikos = "critic") derives from the word critic and implies a critique; it identifies the intellectual capacity and the means "of judging", "of judgement", "for judging", and of being "able to discern".
2,500 years ago who discovered by a method of probing questioning that people could not rationally justify their confident claims to knowledge.
But so is the ability to be flexible and consider non-traditional alternatives and perspectives.
These complementary functions are what allow for critical thinking to be a practice encompassing imagination and intuition in cooperation with traditional modes of deductive inquiry.
It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use.
It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism The earliest documentation of critical thinking are the teachings of Socrates recorded by Plato.
The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind.
The ability to critically analyze an argument – to dissect structure and components, thesis and reasons – is essential.
Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness.
The habits of mind that characterize a person strongly disposed toward critical thinking include a desire to follow reason and evidence wherever they may lead, a systematic approach to problem solving, inquisitiveness, even-handedness, and confidence in reasoning.