Critical thinking is taking the information that you receive from the media or any source of information, and analyzing it to determine its value. By determining it’s value, I mean differentiating between useful, cogent, information that will help you build your knowledge structures, and information that could be fallacious, and doesn’t have sufficient evidence or support to be cogent. Information is the key element in developing knowledge structures. Information can help an individual, but only if he is able to differentiate between useful information, and useless information. Critical thinking embodies media literacy, cogent reasoning, and development of knowledge structures. A critical thinker takes an active role in processing the information that he receives to determine its value, while somebody who isn’t a critical thinker passively receives information without questioning its value.
What is valuable information? Valuable information is information that can help you. Since information that is false or not true will not help you, it is important to have the skills necessary to judge what is true and factual and what is false and fallacious. The media feeds us a massive quantity of information every day. A critical thinker is able to filter out the ‘noise’ or useless information, and record important facts which will prove useful or helpful.
The media gives people information that is most often manipulative and often fallacious. What is the purpose of giving false information? Usually to sell you something, or make money off of you. How one receives this information, and what power it has over somebody depends on how media literate he or she is, and his or her critical thinking ability. What is media literacy? Media literacy is an aspect that will greatly improve your critical thinking ability. It is the ability to perceive what information you are being presented with, the ability to interpret that information, and the ability to see an issue from multiple perspectives. The more media literate you are the more you will understand how the media is trying to influence you with its information.
The influence the media has on you is based on how much you know. The more you know, the more you will be able to make an educated decision. This is why people should care about critical thinking. Knowing how the media is trying to influence you give you power. It gives you the power to use the media effectively. Using the media effectively means finding useful information and using it to your advantage.
That is the core of critical thinking. Analyzing information and then using the useful information to your advantage so that you can make decisions that are based on cogent and not fallacious reasoning. The more you become a critical thinking the more you use the media to your advantage rather than them using you to their advantage.
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