Everybody is thinking every time and everywhere, when we are talking, choosing, playing or sporting. But some people might not be feel the thinking or thought’s existing even about critical thinking. I would like to discuss about the difference between Glaser’s definition and Feinstein’s definition of critical thinking. But firstly, we should understand what is thinking and how we think. Dewey (1997, p. 8) argue that Thinking, for the purposes of this inquiry, is defined accordingly as that operation in which present facts suggest other facts (or truths) in such a way as to induce belief in the latter upon the ground or warrant of the former. It shows the thinking is the process of observe , inference and truths. So we can see the thinking started from self-Judgement and procedure self-experience. But if the thinking like a river, smoothly from west to east. That might be the low-level think or uncritical thinking. If the suggestion that occurs is at once accepted, we have uncritical thinking, the minimum of reflection. (Dewey, 1997, p. 13). The ability of thinking of people reflect on the understanding, analytical, comparison, abstraction, reasoning and judgment etc. These abilities grow with age, experience, and education. I had research on my baby girl. This conclusion was proved to my daughter, I began to observe her from the age of 1 to 5 years old, at the very beginning, she is very sensitive to color and shape. She can divide the which is big or small. Then, with the increase of her age and the development of her language ability, she have the logical reasoning ability gradually. After 4 years old, she could find some arrangement of the rule of the combination. And I found the first ability of critical thinking, that is questioning. She always debate anything she didn’t know and make question unthinkingly. The basic properties of thinking included questioning, reflection and logical. But we need to understand how they help people to make correct decision.
Critical thinking had many definitions of the historical period, and the critical thinking is transforming itself from time to time. I had research on some literature and books over past 100 years. The fundamental of the critical thinking research Continuous changing. Edward Glaser(1941) argue that the critical thinking is the ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things: (1) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods. At very beginning without the brain science and cognitive science, the critical thinking has a lot to do with the philosophy. Obviously, Glaser’s definition with emphasis on the logical principle. More interesting that researchers before 1990’s are more focus on philosophical, theoretical and Logical. But after 2010, along with the brain and cognitive sciences continues development, some of the researchers considered the critical thinking is a higher-level skill of human being. Feinstein(2013) argues that critical thinking can be defined as the process of thinking about any subject matter and the ability to analyze and evaluate an outcome that is meaningful and well reason. Critical thinking is considered a "higher-order skill," as it is a skill that is built upon other cognitive "lower-level" skills, such as language development, information processing, and comprehension. These lower- and higher- level skills develop systematically as an individual matures biologically
Despite Glaser’s definition or Feinstein’s definition, they are both agree on the critical thinking require the ability of reasoning and analyze. Indeed, many of the mistake thinking because of lost the reasoning and analyze. I heard lots of parents said that if you do not study hard in high school, the only way you have is the loser. This sentence is full of anxiety and despair, but if we have a little reasoning and analyze. We can understand the high school education is only a milestone, it could not determine a person's life. So the reasoning and analytical ability is the fundamental of the critical thinking. Furthermore, Glaser and Feinstein are acknowledged critical thinking can provide a good outcome. Critical thinking is the high rationality thinking behavior which depends on reason rather than motion. It requires proof to help people for a decision. For example, when a judge is making judgments or making decisions, it should consider evidence and legal provisions, not the social relations of the plaintiff or the defendant, or the personal preference or prejudice of the judge. That's we called rationality, honesty, and discipline of critical thinking. But what is the difference between Glaser’s definition or Feinstein’s definition, in my opinion, Glaser's research on critical thinking is in the early stage of modern scientific theory, and it is based on the cognitive system of philosophy and logic. He focuses on the deductive form of logical reasoning and the discussion of a true and false proposition. Obviously, the definition of Feinstein has joined the new concept of human cognitive science. People thinking the behavior is linked to the bran physical zone. Thinking is divided into two level, the lower-level, and higher-level. The critical thinking belongs to the higher-level, the critical thinking ability of some of the individuals can be trained and taught base on their experience. At this point, I think all humans could be a critical thinker, the skill good or not cause on how we learn and be taught.
I might add some of my experience to explain how I use critical thinking in the competing sources of evidence. Last year, due to the business project I had provide a consulting service to a digital transformation project of an manufactory industry customer. During the interview talk, the CIO ask me a question, “my developers are hardly driven by business requirements, and then frequently release functional modules or hot patches to support business to creation value; my operators are inherently risk-sensitive and want to avoid modifying functionality as much as possible, thereby reducing the risk of non-functional requirements. But in the absence of release management, deployment coordination, automated deployment tools, IT department should focus on itself pain point, this gap will be conducive to the business, eventually become a business pain point. So how can I implement the so-called Agile development, iterative development, hot patches.” It looks like a very tough question because of the digital transformation project should start from engage customer, empower employee, optimize operation and transform product. If use the normal thinking about this project, it should define the new technology, new tools and new way to work. But this thinking might be totally wrong. Let’s analysis the question of the CIO answer. The business continues to drive IT staff and developers, which means that the business model of the enterprise has been transformed to be agile. The driven power was from the outside, it will continue consume IT resources till more big problems. Logically, according to the definition of Glaser, this is a problem of causal inversion. The urgent of this firm needs for implement the agility toolchain to ease the burden on IT staff and developers. Indeed, the logic is very important for problem solving, it let us to find out the precise goal. Feinstein’s definition of critical thinking give me the answer of how to give the solution to this company. Base on personal experience, the higher-level thinking of mine made me realized I need to provide solutions from three aspects of people, tools, and processes. At the level of consciousness, IT staff and developers need to embrace the frequent changes brought about by the business, while giving them the necessary automated processes and tools to release the day-to-day work of their employees from frequent human manipulation. Let them focus on something more capable of creating value for the company.
Fig 1: Critical thinking makes correct decision
In conclusion, Glaser’s definition and Feinstein’s definition shows the critical thinking development overpass 70 years. They let us know the critical thinking is a powerful thinking weapon, which can make people think more rationally and draw more correct conclusions. The reasoning, repeating, analysis, evaluation and judgement skills of critical thinking can help us to make the accurate correct decision rather than the indistinct or mistake decision(Fig.1). With the continuous development of science and technology, people's awareness of thinking will continue to increase. Critical thinking is more important in business activities, we may encounter a variety of thinking traps. So people need to improve their critical thinking ability through learning and training every day.
Edward M. Glaser (1941), An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
Feinstein, S (ed.) 2013, From the Brain to the Classroom: The Encyclopedia of Learning, ABC-CLIO, LLC, Westport. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [5 June 2018].
Dewey, J. (1997). How we think. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.