Thinking Critically: Coming to Terms with Assumptions
Individuals who want to develop or refine their critical thinking skills
Assumptions are necessary to help us make sense out of our world. Often we are not even aware we are making assumptions. Where critical thinkers differ is that they are able to spot the assumptions that are being made by themselves and others, and they take steps to find out if these assumptions are justified by evidence. They also check to see what others are thinking before starting down a path of thinking that snowballs into some inaccurate conclusion. Assumptions can get in the way of thinking rationally, critically, and unemotionally. We cannot eliminate all assumptions, but we can do a good job coming to terms with them as a natural, sometimes helpful, but often problematic part of our thinking process. This course defines what assumptions are, describes how different kinds of assumptions may be appropriately challenged, and covers the importance of seeking out the perspectives of others as a check on your own assumptions.
Why Assumptions Matter
- use lines of questioning to identify and check assumptions
- distinguish relevant facts from opinions
- seek perspectives of others when managing assumptions
- recognize and challenge assumptions appropriately