Analytical thinking is thinking that is aimed at accuracy.
There are situations where it is important to determine whether a set of facts leads to a particular conclusion, or whether making a particular decision might have implications other than those expected. Alternatively, it might be vital to assess the quality of the evidence upon which a decision is based or it might simply be important to know whether or not something is true. These are situations in which analytical thinking is required.
Unfortunately, we are all capable of arriving at poor conclusions or erring in some other way. Sometimes these errors are mistakes of logic and can be eliminated with a better understanding of the logical structure of reasoning. Sometimes they are mistakes deeply rooted in our psychology and becoming familiar with these limitations on our rationality will help us to avoid them.
Developing your analytical thinking skills will help improve your ability to assess situations, make better decisions, and avoid mistakes. It is also one of the elements that will improve your ability to persuade other people to adopt your point of view. As such it is a vital tool for salesmen, lawyers, politicians, journalists, strategists and campaigners. In the educational field developing your analytical thinking skills will help to improve the quality of your writing, making your arguments more convincing and less susceptible to being undermined.
Our analytical thinking courses include certain aspects of logic, starting with the importance of consistency and non-contradiction, working through the logical structure of good and bad reasoning, to the kinds of fallacies we are often prone to committing. We cover the assessment of evidence to determine whether or not a belief is based on sound reasoning and demonstrate how to distinguish conclusions that are well founded from those that are not.
We also examine the cognitive biases we all have and which can lead us into error, often without us even being aware of any potential danger. We show how people are generally very poor at assessing probability and risk, reverting instead to simple but unreliable rules of thumb. By gaining an understanding of these and other potential dangers you will improve the quality of your own reasoning as well as develop your ability to help others avoid mistakes.
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