Critical Thinking

1 January 2017

In our lives, there must be a time where we may face problems. Problems will occur if we do not have the right strategy or solution. So, how are we going to solve it? Well, there are no specific solutions that I can explain here but there are some ways that can help us to create the correct and fast solution to solve our problems. One of the ways is to think critically. Thinking is a good process but thinking alone will not help us to develop our minds. That is when critical thinking may take place.

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Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Using critical thinking one makes a decision or solves the problem of judging what to believe or what to do. It helps us to build our confidence in making decisions. The intellectual values such as accuracy, good reasons, depth, breadth, consistency, precision and fairness also characterize critical thinking. It means that a critical thinker also shows good internal values besides thinking outside the box only.

Critical thinking is used by almost everyone. Many great and famous philosophers including Al-Kindi, Avicenna and Ibn Rushd even apply critical thinking in their lives. They have used it to help them in their methods, works and ideas. In this assignment we will know more about the background of these people and how they use it . We will also see on how critical thinking has changed from time to time.

There are new theories about critical thinking and what are the developments and initiatives that had been done with it. . 0 Islamic Contributions in Critical Thinking Critical thinking plays a vital part in Islamic Philosophy. They have used it and make discussions among them to form a new idea that is related to Islam. Here we can also see how these philosophers use their thinking in their philosophies. 1. Al- Kindi Al-Kindi was the first Islamic philosopher. He lived in Iraq and studied in Baghdad,. Al-Kindi’s wide-ranging intellectual interests included not only philosophy but also music, astronomy, mathematics, and medicine.

He had developed original theories on key issues in the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, physical science, and ethics. He is especially known for his arguments against the world’s eternity, and his innovative use of Greek ideas to explore the idea of God’s unity and transcendence. Al- Kindi became a prominent figure in the House of Wisdom, and a number of Abbasid Caliphs appointed him to oversee the translation of Greek scientific and philosophical texts into the Arabics language.

This contact with “the philosophy of the ancients” (as Greek and Hellenistic philosophy was often referred to by Muslim scholars) had a profound effect on his intellectual development, and lead him to write a number of original treatises of his own on a range of subjects ranging from metaphysic and ethics to mathematics and pharmacology. He has produced 270 works but most of them are lost. He writes ranging from logic through medicine and science to theology.

Some of his works also had been translated into Latin and since then, he was known through these Latin translations. He also had studied and revised the Arabic versions of works by Plotinus and Prochus. Al-Kindi philosophies have become part in Islamic culture. He has known as the Arabic philosopher. He translates many texts of what was to become standard Arabic philosophical vocabulary originated with al-Kindi. Indeed. If it was not for him, the work of philosophers like Al-Farabi, Avicenna and al-Ghazali might not have been possible.

On his life, Al-Kindi has contribute in astronomy and astrology a lot, al-Kindi took his view of the solar system from Ptolemy, who placed the Earth at the centre of a series of concentric spheres, in which the known heavenly bodies (the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and the stars) are embedded. In one of his treatises on the subject, he says that these bodies are rational entities, whose circular motion is in obedience to and worship of God. Not only that, he has used his thinking for the research of Aristotle’s theory.

The factor which al-Kindi relied upon to determine which of these theories was most correct was how adequately each one explained the experience of seeing. For example, Aristotle’s theory was unable to account for why the angle at which an individual sees an object affects his perception of it. This proves that Al-Kindi’s views and philosophies are very comprehensive and analytical in every research he had done. Not only a philosopher or a logician, he is also known as an Islamic psychologist. He was an expert in experimental psychology.

He was the first one to use the method of experiment in psychology, the earliest one to realize the therapeutic value of music and attempted to cure a quadriplegic boy using music therapy. He also stated that “sorrow is not within us, we are the one who bring it upon ourselves”. It shows that he knows the ways to cure a person’s mind and help to improve the way of thinking of others. He developed cognitive methods to combat depression and discussed the intellectual operations of human beings. 2. Ibn Sina ( Avicenna) Abu Ali Sina was born near Bukhara, also known as Ibn Sina and Avicenna ( in English).

Ibn Sina wrote about 450 treatises but almost half of them survived. His most famous works re The Book of Healing, The Canon of Medicine. Ibn Sina considered as one of the foremost philosophers in the Medieval Hellenistic Islamic tradition. He is also known as Father Modem Medicine at his century. He was known by the men of the thirteenth century chiefly through his Sufficientlae, whose parts are devoted to the principal divisions of philosophy in logic, physics,mathematics,phychology and metaphysics. He developed his own system of logic known as “Avicennian logic” as an alternative to Aristotelian logic.

Then, By the 12th century, Avicennian logic had replaced Aristotelian logic as the dominant system of logic in the Islamic world. When the Latin translations had been done, Avicennian logic was also influential in Europe. He also developed a theory on hypothetical syllogism, which formed the basis of his early risk factor analysis. Not just that, he also contributed in the development of inductive logic which made him the first to describe the methods of agreement, difference and concomitant variation. Ibn Sina had engaged with al-Biruni in a written debate.

Al- Biruni mainly criticized about Aristotelian natural philosophy and the Peripatetic school, while Avicenna responds to Al- Biruni’s criticisms in writing. (Avicenna-wikipedia, 2008) His major contribution to medicine field was his book called al-Qanun, known as the “Canon” in the West. The Qanun fi al-Tibb is an immense encyclopaedia of medicine. He has surveyed medical knowledge from the ancient and Muslim resources. The book has remained supreme for six centuries. It shows that Ibn Sina has done a lot of extensive research from time to time to gather his knowledge and important details about medicine.

Ibn Sina’s philosophy concentrates on the concept of reality and reasoning. Reason can allow progress through various levels of understanding and can finally lead to God. He focused more on the importance of gaining knowledge and developed a theory of knowledge based on four faculties: sense perception, retention, imagination and estimation. In metaphysics, Ibn Sina made a difference between essence and existence. Essence considers only the nature of things and should be apart from mental physical realization. Existence is accidental to essence or nature.

This distinction applies to all things except God, whom Ibn Sina identifies as first cause of both essence and existence. He also argued that the soul cannot be destroyed. From his point of view, the soul is an agent with choice in this world between good and evil, which in turn leads to either reward or punishment. 3. Ibn Rushd Abu’l Waleed Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes in the West, was born in 1128 A. D. in Cordova. He was a philosopher, physician, and polymath: a master of philosophy, theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, astronomy, geography, mathematics, medicine, physics, psychology and science.

In the Islamic world, he played a decisive role in the defense of Greek philosophy against the onslaughts of the Ash’arite theologians. In Western Europe, He has been described as the founding father of secular thought. Ibn Rushd made many contributions in many field. In medicine, his famous book Kitab al-Kulyat fi al-Tibb was written before 1162 A. D . Its Latin translation was known as ‘Colliget’. In it, Ibn Rushd has thrown light on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cure and prevention of diseases.

The book concentrates on specific areas in comparison of Ibn Sina’s wider scope of al-Qanun, but contains several original observations of Ibn Rushd. In philosophy, he has written a book called Tuhafut al-Tuhafut. Ibn Rushd was criticised by many Muslim scholars for this book, which it had a huge influence in Europe, at least until the beginning of modern philosophy and experimental science. He also wrote a treatise on the motion of the sphere, Kitab fi-Harakat al-Falak. He also summarised Almagest and divided into two parts which are description of the spheres, and movement of the spheres.

The summary was then translated from Arabic into Hebrew by Jacob Anatoli in 1231. Ibn Rushd has been held as one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of the 12th century. According to Philip Hitti, Ibn Rushd influenced Western thought from the 12th to the 16th centuries. 2. 0 Recent Development and Initiatives in Critical Thinking The way of thinking keep changing from time to time. Now, the ‘new people’use their knowledge to generate and come out with newer ideas about thinking and what are the right ways for us to think. 2. 1 Edward Bono Edward de Bono was born on 9th May 1993. in Malta.

He is a physician, author, inventor and consultant. He is known as the originator of the term lateral thinking and the leading proponent of the deliberate teaching of thinking in schools. He is one of the very few people in history who can be said to have had a major impact on the way we think. In many ways he could be said to be the best known thinker internationally. He has written numerous books with translations into 34 languages. De Bono has detailed a range of ‘deliberate thinking methods’ – applications emphasizing thinking as a deliberate act rather than a reactive one. His writing style has been lauded for being simple and practical.

De Bono thinks that everyone should try to be more creative, but an unstructured creativity such as brainstorming is less effective than following his own techniques that he developed. In his book called Serious Creativity which was published in 1992 exposed about the techniques on generating creative ideas. De Bono had introduced lateral thinking and is now used equally in a physics lecture and even in a television comedy.

Traditional thinking is to do with analysis, judgment and argument. In a stable world this was sufficient because it was enough to identify standard situations and to apply standard solutions. This is no longer so in a changing world where the standard solutions may not work. There is a huge need of constructive and creative thinking . Many of the problems cannot be solved by identifying and removing the cause only. There is a need for new design of thinking even if the cause remains in place. Edward De Bono has created the methods and tools for this new thinking. De Bono is also renowned for creating the Six Thinking Hat Techniques.

It is a model that can be used for exploring different perspectives towards a complex situation or challenge. He shows you how to separate your thinking into six distinct modes. Below are the descriptions about the six thinking hats: White hat thinking Focuses on the information available and needed. Black hat thinking Examines the difficulties and problems associated with a topic. Yellow hat thinking Focuses on benefits and values. Red hat thinking Looks at a topic from the point of view of emotions, feelings and hunches. Green hat thinking Requires imaginative, creative and lateral thinking about a topic.

Blue hat thinking Focuses on reflection, metacognition (thinking about the thinking that is required), and the need to manage the thinking process. 2. 2 Carl Sagan Carl Sagan was an American author, astronomer. astrochemist and a populariser of astronomy, astrophysics and natural sciences. He is an expert in exobiology and promoted the search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence ( SETI). His famous science books and award- winning television series, Cosmos which has been seen by 600 million people in over 60 countries. During his lifetime, he has published more than 600 scientific papers and articles.

He also was the author and co-author for more than 20 books. In his works, he also frequently advocated sceptical inquiry, secular humanism, and the scientific method. Carl Sagan has been successful in communicating the wonder and importance of science. His capability to convey his ideas allowed people to understand better about the cosmos. He simultaneously emphasizes the value and worthiness of the human race, and the relative insignificance of the earth in comparison to the universe. The cosmos covered a wide range of scientific subjects including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe.

Sagan taught a course on critical thinking at Cornell until his death in 1996 from a rare bone marrow disease. The course had only a limited number of seats. Although hundreds of students applied each year, only about 20 were chosen to attend each semester. One of his major contributions was the discovery of the high surface temperatures of the planet Venus. In the early 1960s, no one knew for certain the basic conditions of that planet’s surface and Sagan listed the possibilities in a report later depicted for popularization in a Time-Life book, Planets. 2. 2 Peter A. Facione Dr. Peter A.

Facione is actually the founder of Measured Reasons, which is a research and consulting firm. He is a Managing partner of the California Academia Press, and a Strategic consultant with Stratus- Henry International. He has produced some well known books like Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making which presents a method for the integrated analysis, evaluation and explanation of human decision making in terms of risk and uncertainty. His book with Noreen Facione , Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning in the Health sciences which produced in 2008,is an international teaching anthology.

He is an active speaker, loves to write and do a lot of research in critical thinking. He has more than 150 publications including essays, books articles, case studies and educational testing tools. His tools for assessing reasoning are used around the world. These include the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, the Critical Thinking disposition Inventory, The Business Critical Thinking Test and The California Measure of Mental Motivation. Dr. Peter A. Facione is also internationally known for his work on the definition of critical thinking.

According to him, the ideal critical thinker is well-informed, trustful of reason, open minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent. Since 1967,Dr. Peter and his co-investigators have been engaged in research about reasoning, decision-making and effective individual and group thinking processes.

He has developed instruments to measure the core skills and habits of mind of effective thinking over the years. These instruments are now used in many different parts of countries in the world. He has also done many presentations and workshops about effective teaching for thinking and about leadership, decision making, planning, budgeting and learning outcomes. In a nutshell, Dr. A. Facione is a pioneer in critical thinking. He has been doing research for almost 40 years and still actively producing many books about critical thinking.

Not just that, he also busily conducting workshops around the world to share ideas and teaching other people on how to be a creative thinker. Conclusion As a conclusion, the assignment taught me a lot of lesson and gains me new knowledge from the aspect of thinking. All the philosophers that I have researched use their critical thinking to generate new ideas and develop their methods. It helps them to be different among others. We as the new generation should use our thinking the way they use it. We should take these examples and also applied in our life.

Critical thinking is important for all people, regardless of their age, race, religion and occupation. It is needed for us to solve our problems in everyday life. Problems will not go away if we do not act properly. Furthermore, if we do not solve it in the right way, we might face new problems that we are not familiar with. This will make our job even tougher than before. That is why whe need to think critically by having creative ideas, identify the importance of ideas and being systematic.

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