Logic and Critical Thinking

Logic is a necessary part of the critical thinking process. Although our natural sense of perception sensually guides us towards rational thought, critical thinking is not met until the complex tools of logic are utilized.

Perception is the natural mechanism within our thought making process that is influenced by both sensory and emotional stimuli. We are born with the innate ability to perceive.  As young children, our perceptions are evidenced by simple determinations made. We smell a fresh daisy, and somewhere, deep within the chasms of our brain, our thought is that the incredible odor signifies that the flower is beautiful.

Later, our perceptions become more complex, and influenced largely by environmental influences and societal beliefs. For example, an adult may be emotionally repulsed or angered by a woman who undergoes an abortion. This reviled woman is the symptom of that adults’ perception, as that adult may have been largely influenced by religious doctrine or the influence of his parents’ taught morals. This type of perception is still largely emotional, and has not undergone the full circle of critical thinking.

Logic is the tool that helps drive perception towards deeper critical thinking. Through the use of logic, we are able to study arguments and persuasions on the most analytical level, and eliminate undue emotion or bias from our thought process.

My own perceptual process has often been led by extreme swings of emotion. I have discovered that my own initial perceptions prove very wrong under critical analysis. When I rely solely on my emotional perceptual process, I do not believe that I can later embark on the path of good decision making.

For example, some young adults are often entwined deeply in love affairs that have very little to do with logic. One person can perceive another on an extreme emotional level. Pheromones, the ultimate biological sensory tool, may play a large role in driving the base emotion of lust. One may make you laugh, creating an emotion of excitement and titillation, eventually leading to flirtation. These basic emotional determinations are often made on an almost subconscious level. Because young people are often unable to direct their thought processes, they find themselves locked within a web of dysfunction, the all too commonplace teenage love affair.

As adults, we can choose our romantic partners with more direction through logic. Although a suitor may make us laugh, and may strike us as attractive, we are able to determine that person is not a suitable partner. Critically, we can analyze past behaviors, and determine that the suitor has not demonstrated signs of trustworthiness. We can reflect upon that person’s verbal communication, and determine that their ideas and opinions are subtly foreign from our own. As adults, we are more capable of making rational choices because we have learned of the bitter fruits of emotional decision making. We are now capable of making choices that involve logical thought processes in coalition with our innate sense of perception.

When tools of logic are used in conjunction with our ability to perceive, we can drive our thought processes towards critical thinking. Ultimately relying upon our emotional perceptions in the beginning, critical thinking can only describe our use of logic as a refining analytical tool to help us focus on the fallacies in our thought processes.

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