Critical Thinking

Google Bertrand Russell. Amazing man. Allow me to share his Ten Commandments of Critical Thinking and Democratic Decency.

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

My journey into critical thought is challenging. Here’s to becoming “eccentric” in opinion!


2 thoughts on “Critical Thinking

  1. It is a nice list, and I agree with it generally. However, there are two points that I can’t agree with.
    1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
    The problem here is that if you are not certain, at least about the foundation of your knowledge, than nothing you say or believe can have any substance, and it can change at any whim. Some things have to be absolute or there simply cannot be critical thinking.
    5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
    This would cause absolute chaos. I think the writer is misusing the term authority, or is using it in a very narrow sense, which would be the prestige and weight that you give to the opinions of others. So, if we are to take this as to not simply accept a person’s opinions because of their position or training, than I think we can agree to some extent. I would agree generally, but only in so far as we should not blindly accept any opinion based solely on the credentials of a single individual. We should, however, give respect to their opinion, even if we may not agree with it.
    Other than this I think the list is very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see your point.

      1. Only the Sith deal in absolutes. (Which, dear Yoda, is an absolute) *grin* Anyway, once something is proven false, one could be certain. So, I agree.

      5. I still agree with Mr. Russell. My take on this is to think critically for yourself rather than relying on authorities, avoiding a war of opinion.

      Thanks! Great comment.


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