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Critical Thinking and Ethics

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Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. Being able to see both sides of an issue. You have to be able to understand the logical connections between ideas, identify, construct, and evaluate arguments, detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning, solve problems systematically, identify relevance and importance of ideas, and to reflect on justification of one’s own beliefs and values. Critical thinking free us from self-deception. You have the right to question everything that you see hear or read. By acquiring this skill you have achieved a major goal for college education. (What is the relationship between critical thinking and ethics?) Critical thinking plays a large role in ethics because it is he process by which we determine for ourselves whether or not something is right or wrong. In a sense, critical thinking is a form of analysis and determination of fact vs. fiction, identifying the unknown, coming to an understanding, etc. By taking the path of a critical thinker, a person develops a mental of evaluation which helps to determine their ethical standards.

There are six levels of thinking. The first level is remembering. In this level you need to be able to recall the key terms, facts, or events. The second level is understanding. In this level you need to be able to explain the information in your own words. The third level is applying. In this level you need to use the information to produce a result. The fourth step is analyzing. In this level you need to try to divide the information into steps or parts. The fifth step is evaluating. In this level you need to try to rate the information and give reasons for the ratings. The last step is creating. In this step you would want to invent something new based on the information.

When completing the Ethical Lens Inventory I learned that I run the risk of developing unrealistic role expectations. I tend to rely too much on the virtues associated with a particular role, forgetting that individuals are fallible regardless of their role. Even those who live fully into the virtues required in their role may not be able to resolve all problems. I need to learn to find balance and consistency between my head and gut feelings.

Ethics is about doing right and wrong in human actions. Ethics is about choices. It is about dilemmas and grey areas. It explores the question of what we should do, rather than just discuss what people could do or actually do. Ethics helps us understand what behaviors are expected and why. Suggestions for making ethical decisions include identifying the core ethical issue or issues involved, making sure you understand the facts, identifying the main players in this issue and see if you can identify their interests, listing the values at stake or conflicts in the matter, examine the possible options and their likely consequences, choosing the option you think is best for the values and principles you believe to be important, give reasons as to why you have chosen this option and show why it is a better resolution of the issue than the other options, and make your decision, but keep an open mind. (Doing the right thing – ethical decision making, n.d.)

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