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Escaping Criticism is an oil on canvas painting. Credit: Pere Borrell del Caso.{{free media}}

Criticism can be the result of critical thinking.[1]

The law itself can be contested with criticism, if it is perceived as unfair; nevertheless, the courts usually draw the line somewhere.[2]

Def. "the act of[3] [evaluating] (something), and [judging] its merits and faults[4] [by] observation or detailed examination and review"[3] is called criticism.

Ideally, a criticism should be:

  • timely, not too early nor too late.
  • brief and succinct, with a clear start and a finish, not endless.
  • relevant and to the point, not misplaced.
  • clear, specific and precise, not vague.
  • well-researched, not based on hear-say or speculative thought.
  • sincere and positively intended, not malicious.
  • articulate, persuasive and actionable, so that the recipient can both understand the criticism and be motivated to act on the message.[5][6]

Critical thinking

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Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment.[7] Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking that presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use and entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism.[8][9]

Critical thinking was as a movement in two waves.[10] The "first wave" of critical thinking is often referred to as a 'critical analysis' that is clear, rational thinking involving critique. Critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments: ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.[11]

The U.S. National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking[12] defines critical thinking as the "intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."[13]

Traditionally, critical thinking has been variously defined as follows:

  • "The process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion"[14]
  • "Disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence"[14]
  • "Purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based"[15]
  • "Includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs"[16]
  • The skill and propensity to engage in an activity with reflective scepticism (McPeck, 1981)[17]
  • Thinking about one's thinking in a manner designed to organize and clarify, raise the efficiency of, and recognize errors and biases in one's own thinking. Critical thinking is not 'hard' thinking nor is it directed at solving problems (other than 'improving' one's own thinking). Critical thinking is inward-directed with the intent of maximizing the rationality of the thinker. One does not use critical thinking to solve problems—one uses critical thinking to improve one's process of thinking.[18]
  • "An appraisal based on careful analytical evaluation"[19]

Contemporary critical thinking scholars have expanded these traditional definitions to include qualities, concepts, and processes such as creativity, imagination, discovery, reflection, empathy, connecting knowing, feminist theory, subjectivity, ambiguity, and inconclusiveness, yet some definitions of critical thinking exclude these subjective practices.[20]

In the ‘second wave’ of critical thinking, logicism is "the unwarranted assumption that good thinking is reducible to logical thinking".[21]

"A logistic approach to critical thinking conveys the message to students that thinking is legitimate only when it conforms to the procedures of informal (and, to a lesser extent, formal) logic and that the good thinker necessarily aims for styles of examination and appraisal that are analytical, abstract, universal, and objective. This model of thinking has become so entrenched in conventional academic wisdom that many educators accept it as canon".[21]

The linear and non-sequential mind must both be engaged in the rational mind.[21]

The ability to critically analyze an argument – to dissect structure and components, thesis and reasons – is essential, but, so is the ability to be flexible and consider non-traditional alternatives and perspectives, as 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.[21]

The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and metacognition, where, an individual or group engaged in a strong way of critical thinking gives due consideration to establish for instance:[22]

  • Evidence through reality
  • Context skills to isolate the problem from context
  • Relevant criteria for making the judgment well
  • Applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment
  • Applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand

Constructive criticism

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Some people are not open to any criticism at all, even constructive criticism.[23]

Def. criticism "intended to provide suggestions for improvement without insulting the recipient"[24] is called constructive criticism.

Constructive critics try to stand in the shoes of the person criticized, and consider what things would look like from their perspective.[25]

One style of constructive criticism employs the "hamburger method",[26] in which each potentially harsh criticism (the "meat") is surrounded by compliments (the "buns"). The idea is to help the person being criticized feel more comfortable, and assure the person that the critic's perspective is not entirely negative. This is a specific application of the more general principle that criticism should be focused on maintaining healthy relationships, and be mindful of the positive as well as the negative.[27]

Destructive criticism

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Criticism that assigns blame or states problems without suggesting solutions ("empty criticism"), people are likely to conclude is not very useful.[28]

Def. criticism "performed with the intention to harm someone, derogate and destroy someone’s creation, prestige, reputation and self-esteem"[29] is called destructive criticism.

See also

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  1. "Module: Critical thinking". Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  2. Andale Gross and Tammy Webber, "Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case." The Seattle Times, 26 November 2014.[1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Connel MacKenzie (3 April 2005). "criticism". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2019. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  4. Frous (5 May 2007). "criticise". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2019. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. J.R. Hackman and G.R. Oldham. Work Redesign. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, Inc, 1980; pp. 78–80.
  6. Katz, Ralph. Motivating Technical Professionals Today. IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2013, pp. 28–38
  7. Edward M. Glaser. "Defining Critical Thinking". The International Center for the Assessment of Higher Order Thinking (ICAT, US)/Critical Thinking Community. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  8. "Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  9. "It's a Fine Line Between Narcissism and Egocentrism". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  10. Walters, Kerry (1994). Re-Thinking Reason. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 181–98. 
  11. Elkins, James R. "The Critical Thinking Movement: Alternating Currents in One Teacher's Thinking". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  12. "Critical Thinking Index Page".
  13. "Defining Critical Thinking".
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Critical – Define Critical at". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  15. Facione, Peter A. (2011). "Critical Thinking: What It is and Why It Counts". p. 26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  16. Mulnix, J. W. (2010). "Thinking critically about critical thinking". Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (5): 471. doi:10.1111/j.1469-5812.2010.00673.x. 
  17. "Critical Thinking: A Question of Aptitude and Attitude?" (PDF). Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  18. Carmichael, Kirby; letter to Olivetti, Laguna Salada Union School District, May 1997.
  19. "critical analysis". Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  20. Walters, Kerry (1994). Re-Thinking Reason. Albany: State University of New York Press. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Kerry S. Walters (1994). Re-Thinking Reason: New Perspectives in Critical Thinking. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-2095-9. 
  22. Reynolds, Martin (2011). Critical thinking and systems thinking: towards a critical literacy for systems thinking in practice. In: Horvath, Christopher P. and Forte, James M. eds. Critical Thinking. New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 37–68.
  23. "WiseGeek What is Constructive Criticism?". 2013-10-19. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  24. Mahagaja (10 November 2014). "constructive criticism". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2019. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  25. Ross Bonander (2008-10-19). "AskMen How to: Give Constructive Criticism". Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  26. "The Hamburger Method of Constructive Criticism". 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  27. "The 4-1-1 On Constructive Criticism". 2001-08-03. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  28. Edgar H. Schein (with Peter S. DeLisi, Paul J. Kampas and Michael Sonduck), DEC is Dead, Long Live DEC – The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation (Lessons on Innovation, Technology and the Business Gene), Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2003
  29. Dan Polansky (27 March 2008). "destructive criticism". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2019. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
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