Creative Thinking Are Important Tools That Can Term Paper

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creative thinking are important tools that can help a person in both their professional and their personal lives. As Pascal said, "We are but thinking reeds, but because we know, we are superior to the universe. Thought constitutes our greatness" (as cited in Kirby, Goodpaster & Levine, 1999, p. xix). This paper will discuss some of the facets of this important topic.

As there have been several definitions of the term "critical thinking" these definitions will be compared and contrasted. In addition, an evaluation of ways in which critical thinking relates to cognitive development, logic and emotionality will be given. The role of cognitive dissonance and how it plays in fostering critical thought will be analyzed, and the validity of arguments will be evaluated, as will fallacious logic and reasoning.

Regarding creative thinking, the role that metaphors play in this process will be explained and the creative process will be analyzed. The conditions that foster or inhibit creativity and creative culture will be discerned. And, the relationship between critical thinking and creative thinking will be analyzed.

Finally, applications of critical and creative thinking will be discussed including using these process to solve problems and how creative thinking principles apply to classroom situations. The concept of leaderly learning will be analyzed as will the function of creative and critical thought in the evolution of leadership. The role creative and critical thought plays in group processes will be evaluated. And, lastly, a practical product will be created that meets a real need and demonstrates critical thinking and applied creativity.

Critical Thinking

Introduction:

Critical and creative thinking are important tools that can help a person in both their professional and their personal lives. As Pascal said, "We are but thinking reeds, but because we know, we are superior to the universe. Thought constitutes our greatness" (as cited in Kirby, Goodpaster & Levine, 1999, p. xix). This paper will discuss some of the facets of this important topic.

As there have been several definitions of the term "critical thinking" these definitions will be compared and contrasted. In addition, an evaluation of ways in which critical thinking relates to cognitive development, logic and emotionality will be given. The role of cognitive dissonance and how it plays in fostering critical thought will be analyzed, and the validity of arguments will be evaluated, as will fallacious logic and reasoning.

Regarding creative thinking, the role that metaphors play in this process will be explained and the creative process will be analyzed. The conditions that foster or inhibit creativity and creative culture will be discerned. And, the relationship between critical thinking and creative thinking will be analyzed.

Finally, applications of critical and creative thinking will be discussed including using these process to solve problems and how creative thinking principles apply to classroom situations. The concept of leaderly learning will be analyzed as will the function of creative and critical thought in the evolution of leadership. The role creative and critical thought plays in group processes will be evaluated. And, lastly, a practical product will be created that meets a real need and demonstrates critical thinking and applied creativity.

Compare and Contrast of Critical Thinking Definitions:

Myers (2003) defines critical thinking as a process that "examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, and assesses conclusions" (p. xv). Warnick and Inch (1994) define critical thinking a bit differently. They believe the process involves, "the ability to explore a problem, question, or situation; integrate all the available information about it, arrive at a solution or hypothesis; and justify one's position" (p. 11). Both involve examining aspects of the situation before coming to any sort of decision. Myers makes a solid point in including finding any hidden information that may be of value in the process, which Warnick and Inch leave out. However, Warnick and Inch talk about integrating all of the information before coming to a conclusion, which is an important step that Myers does not clearly address.

Critical Thinking and Cognitive Development, Logic and Emotionality:

Cognitive development is the ability "to process information," according to Aquilno (1997). As noted in the above definitions, processing information is one of the most important facets of critical thinking, without this, critical thinking cannot occur. Logic is also a necessary component of critical thinking as criticality is "characterized by a logic of clear, purposeful and objective thinking" (Paul, 1993). Emotionality must be taken into consideration in the critical thinking process, as it can be one of the primary challenges of the process.

Cognitive Dissonance and Critical Thinking:

Cognitive dissonance is the theory that when one is presented with evidence that contradicts their existing beliefs that they will be motivated to modify some or all of their beliefs in order to reduce this contradiction (Roe, 1999). This process fosters critical thinking in that it stretches the person's belief system to allow for new thoughts about a previously considered situation. It is these contradictions that allow a person to not only grow in knowledge but then apply that knowledge to make better decisions and form more accurate opinions about a situation.

The Validity of Arguments:

Evaluating the validity of arguments is the facet that allows critical thinkers to ensure that the conclusion they are coming to is the best possible conclusion. In this process, the critical thinker must view all sides of the issue evenly and acknowledge the validities presented, based on research and premises that are reasonably supported by evidence or facts. Without considering the validity of arguments, one could simply take a position on an issue, gather a few bits of evidence that support that stance and then conclude that that was the best position possible, when in fact there may be another position more worthy.

Fallacious Logic and Reasoning:

Using fallacious logic, one can reason almost any argument, for this reason, critical thinkers need to be aware of this pitfall. There are several common types of logic fallacies that are utilized, one of the most common is the hasty generalization. The hasty generalization makes a generalized statement about an entire group or situation based simply on the observation of some of its members. This is similar to the fallacy of composition, in which one assumes that what is true of the parts of something is also true of the whole (Kirby, Goodpaster & Levine, 1999, pp. 182-185).

One of the most persuasive fallacies is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. This fallacy uses the theory that if an event comes after X, then X caused that event. The extravagant hypothesis fallacy is one where a complex or unlikely explanation is given when a simpler explanation would do. False analogy is another form of fallacious logic. In this, although two things may have similar attributes, they are not significant enough to assume that other attributes are also similar. Other popular logic fallacies include: the slippery slope, appeal to authority, appeal to tradition, bandwagon appeal, and appeal to ignorance. These must be guarded against in the critical thinking process (Kirby, Goodpaster & Levine, 1999, pp. 183-189).

Creative Thinking and Metaphors:

"Analogies and metaphors are creative and powerful tools for assimilating new information and fitting it into one's existing knowledge base" (Castillo, 1998). And this, perhaps, is the ultimate goal of creative thinking, finding ways to take new information and make it accessible for use. It allows the creative thinker to take old meanings and combine them into new meanings to be used in the future.

The Creative Process:

Creative thinking involves transforming the old into the new. As such, there is a process that must be had. The process can be either deliberate or accidental. In the deliberate creative process there are several stages that occur. First, is orientation this sets the stage for an open and creative process. Second is preparation and analysis, which involves gathering pertinent data and determining the relationships between the facts. "Brainstorming (is next and) allows the mind to flow from thought to thought, each idea stimulating other ideas" (Kirby, Goodpaster & Levine, 1999, p. 112). Incubation is the fourth step and allows time for the ideas to be mulled over and fully considered. Finally synthesis and verification come into play where ideas are combined and solutions are tested (Alvino, 1993).

Conditions that Foster or Inhibit Creativity and Creative Culture:

Whether spontaneous or planned, the creative process requires the thinker to do several things to be successful. They must suspend judgment, keeping the mind open to all possibilities. They assess their own tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and opinions. A positive attitude and enthusiasm is necessary, as well as self-confidence that the ideas presented can work (Alvino, 1993). By practicing these creative thinking skills, one can improve upon them and become more proficient (van Gelder, 2005).

The Relationship Between Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking:

Critical thinking and creative thinking are intertwined with one another. One cannot be effective without the other. Creative thinking involves the process of coming up with potential solutions to a problem or possible…[continue]

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