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Any tips on critical thinking for a beginner?

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Dear members,

I have started reading PWNI and am already being sucked into the world of Rand's philosophy. A little too quickly , I sense, but a more in depth second reading should cover any of my hesitations.

I was wondering if anyone can give me some pointers right off the bat on how I can apply some basic principles of critical thinking for my day to day life that I can always trace back to in case I get too mind-boggled with all the new information I'm consuming.

Rand suggests some questions to ask oneself in extrospection and introspection , namely to ask myself what I know, and how and also what I feel and why, respectively.

I'm determined to "form" myself and to implement reason as my operating code, to also rise up to my goals and ambitions, and to take charge of my own life and needs.

Any advice on how I can kickstart my quest would be appreciated.

Thanks

barquentine

Edited by Barquentine
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Hi. You're obviously not a beginner at critical thought. Identifying the need for critical thought takes a lot of it.

And the way to get better at it is to practice. All the time, about everything you come across. Always try to figure out the cause of things, how they work, find the most elegant solution to every problem, etc. I suspect you are already doing this. Most people who find Ayn Rand and like her do.

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The search for the perfect argument and the search for truth are not the same thing. A good argument is just that, it does not mean that the person who has the argument memorized, does not undserstand what they are arguing about.

Knowledge comes from reality, not people, so leave arguments for courts and academia.

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I was wondering if anyone can give me some pointers right off the bat on how I can apply some basic principles of critical thinking for my day to day life that I can always trace back to in case I get too mind-boggled with all the new information I'm consuming.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Don't blindly accept what people tell you about what they've seen, or the conclusions they've made. Ask "why?" and "how?"
  • Always keep in mind that emotions are not tools of cognition. How you feel about something tells you nothing about whether it's true.
  • Remember to anchor ideas in concretes, in reality. Dangling "stake in the ground" assumptions are rampant in the world, and are a central tool of rationalism.
  • Make sure you understand what it really means to be "arbitrary," and for something to be "possible"

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"Emotions are not tools of cognition" is something to be careful about. The idea is that emotions by themselves won't provide you knowledge, but they are quite important to the process of self-discovery. If you feel glad, ask why. If you feel sad, ask why. If you don't know what it is that you feel, figure out a name for it. Also important is distinguishing thoughts about emotions from emotions. This is all important to critical thinking because you'll better be able to examine your thought process, which is what you seem to want to do better.

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