Debbie Aliya's blog series on critical thinking continues.

Statement 3: Yesterday, I wanted to hear some Beethoven music.

Comments: This statement is simple, but there’s actually no way for anyone other than the person speaking/writing to know if it is true or not. This is always the case for any statement about personal experience. Personal experience is subjective, and only we can be sure that we truly had the claimed experience … if even we can be sure! Our memories are imperfect.

Finding: Logic is clearly not the whole story of critical thinking – if by critical thinking we mean using our mental structures to evaluate data and information and determine its correspondence with reality. In Statement 3, critical thinking might involve asking why the person claimed they wanted to hear Beethoven. Expressing a preference for future concert attendance? Trying to sound sophisticated? Trying to bump up the stock price of a new classical music label? This would be critical thinking if the thinker methodologically sought data and evidence to support these theories. Simply asking the question to create doubt in the minds of others is not critical thinking.

Check back next time for our final installment.