Critical Thinking and Decision Making Essay

Posted on June 7, 2010

Essay on Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Decision Making
Critical thinking and decision-making are the most intricate parts of solving problems. Without it, we cannot begin to evaluate someone’s reasoning or grasp the rational being offered for acceptance as a point of view. In grasping and understanding reasoning we must understand critical thinking.

In order to understand critical thinking, one must analyze the concept of reasoning. We use reasoning in communication.

Reasoning is presented in language and is used to tell jokes, make insult, report factual information, describe a scene or a personality, tell a story, express our feelings, explain why we have acted in a particular way and ask questions. Sometimes we use reasoning to persuade others to accept the truth of a statement, by offering them reasons or evidence in support of this statement. This is the most central and material part of an argument. Arguments occur when someone believes some statement and presents reasons aimed at persuading others to adopt the same point of view. Often people do this without realizing that what they are saying is argumentative.

When presented with an argument, critical thinking becomes an important part of the equation. Critical thinking is a systematic evaluation. This way of thinking is something we are not accustom to but we must learn how to use this system so we can judge situations and make more efficient decisions. Critical thinking allows a person to listen and make a decision based on all information that is presented in a problem. After acquiring all information, a person using critical thinking will evaluate and ask critical questions at the appropriate time in order to get the best decision or judgment. With critical thinking there are two thinking styles. They are the sponge and panning for gold.

The sponge thinking style allows a person to absorb information and to retain knowledge for the purpose of understanding it. The sponge thinking style is also incredibly stolid and requires no participation in making a decision. All information is taken for what it is worth. A person believes exactly what is said and does not question the information.

On the other hand there is panning for gold. Panning for gold thinking style gives a person a chance to take in information, listen and analyze all opinions. After listening and analyzing, a person takes this information and determines if the information has any worth and how it would influence the outcome. This type of thinking style allows a person to ask question about any given situation. Both styles are necessary for critical thinking. They compliment each other. The sponge allows a person to absorb information while panning for gold allows the person to digest and evaluate information that is present so decisions can be made based upon worthiness. Once a person has digested information and determined its credibility, a decision must be made.

Decision-making is a common way of helping to determine an outcome. The decision-making process allows a person to focus on what’s important and is it logical and consistent. It also only requires information that is necessary to resolve a particular dilemma and is straightforward, reliable and easy to use. Decision-making allows a person to clarify uncertainties and risks. Effective decision-making demands that a person confront uncertainty, judging the likelihood of different outcomes and assessing their possible impacts. More than likely what we decide today could influence our choices tomorrow. This in turn will affect the outcome of our future. From a managerial stand point, decision-making can be based upon logical, rational and a systematic process. Managers and heads of organizations use the systemic process to correct or to solve problems. Even though the problems of corporations might be of a larger magnitude than the problems in everyday life we use the decision-making process in the same way. Each must examine the problem and then begin to identify what choices have to be made. After identifying problem, everyone will rely on knowledge and action to help him or her to make a decision that is appropriate for that problem.

Both critical thinking and decision-making is a large part of our everyday life. We must make use of critical thinking and decision-making to answer problems that arise in our lives. When confronted with a problem, we must assess the problem or argument and analyze all information that is put before us so we can make the best decision possible. Without the use of critical thinking and decision-making, our lives would be of no significance. We would be mundane beings and would believe what is told to us without question. Even the most insignificant problem or argument requires the use of critical thinking and decision-making. For example, when trying to decide what to wear to work in the morning, we use both critical thinking and decision-making. It is not a complicated problem but a decision has to be made and one must ask oneself certain questions in order to choose what to wear. You will find critical thinking and decision-making in every newspaper you pick up. Look at the letter sections and the editorials. You will also find them use on television and radio broadcasts. Even when you join newsgroups, you will find that critical thinking and decision-making is being implemented to some degree.

Critical thinking and decision-making compliments each other by allowing us to make tough decisions. Critical thinking and decision-making also allows us to confront a problem or an argument and test the validity of it. Once validity is tested, we need justification for the action that is being taken. The purpose of validity and justification is to validate conflicting points in an argument and can be used as a systematic way to decipher what a person is saying is true and is it justifiable. Even if a desire to discover the truth does not seem a sufficiently strong reason for being concerned about having good reasons to justify our actions and beliefs, there are various life situations in which the ability to interpret and evaluate someone’s problem or arguments properly may be crucial to someone’s well-being. Critical thinking and decision-making is an optimal system that ensures the best evaluation and interpretation in argument analysis.

Within my department, critical thinking and decision-making is constantly being used. When implementing new program or new software, our programmers, network administrators and technicians have to make decisions that affect SCDNR. For example, the implementation of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) allowed remote users to access the network in half the time. In order for this to happen, the staff of data processing had to come together and figure out how to begin the process of establishing a VPN. Each staff member had opinions and arguments but critical thinking and decision-making allowed the managers to taken in all the information that was presented and make a decision based upon that information. Without critical thinking and decision-making, our VPN connection would never be in place and our user would not be able to access the network in an expeditionary manner.

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