Critical Thinking

An understanding of critical thinking and why we read what we read.

This paper examines how critical thinking is a skilled view of how meaning is derived from in a text, whether the author, the text, or the reader aids in the development of critical thinking. It looks at how, although critical thinking is in the realm of philosophy and literature studies, it also emphasizes the mental attitudes and the application of reasoning to everyday situations. It shows how an author’s writing, though individual in most cases, derives from a collection of knowledge consumed and processed over the writer’s history and how, by understanding this, it may be possible for the reader to best understand a piece of literature by examining the author and discovering what influenced him/her to produce that piece.
“Many outside influences such as identity play a role in understanding literature but an important aspect of critical thinking is discovering the meaning of a text. When one reads a literary work, one’s identity is often the subconscious paradigm that leads to his/her own interpretations of such literature. Consequently, another reader may construe entirely different interpretations or connotations from the same piece of literature. These varying interpretations are the result of different cultures, social structures, educations, classes and genders, religions, and media. These influences instill certain rigid values in people from birth, which configures their self-concept and the way they perceive other individuals in the society in which they interact with.”