Positive Critical Thinking

Hat tip to Anne McCrossan on Facebook:

“I always say that behind any critical judgement is an idea that’s not yet fully formed. That’s the positive version. It gives people the option to get there with their ideas.”

There is a noddy version of critical thinking which says it’s smart to find fault with anyone else’s expressed idea, because somehow that’s how “science” is self-correcting on it’s course to pure knowledge. Anything that passes destructive testing is seen as successful and therefore good. Scientism.

However, as I keep pointing out, that rush to judgement tramples on many good ideas because they’re not (yet) well formed, and/or (very often) not easily recognisable within the recipient’s prevailing “memeplex”. When the problem is the memeplex itself, that’s a double-bind, my Catch-22 drag on any progress.

“Behind any critical judgement is an idea that’s not yet fully formed.” is a good simple statement of the better – positive – starting point. Much more important to treat an unexpected idea as at least interesting, worth a constructive conversation, not just for the formation of the idea itself, but for it’s place in existing ideas already held.


[Post note – and a positive “critique” from Jonathan Haidt.]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.