This ability enables such a person to successfully navigate their lives in a world that bombards one with conflicting information. The aptitude to think critically can only be learned; it is not inherent and can only be developed through the aid of instruction. This discussion draws from the works of modern-day critical thought authors such as Richard Paul, Robert Ennis, John Passmore and Matthew Lipman among others in an analytic overview of the subject.
The study of critical thinking relies largely on the psychological and philosophical lines of thought. The tradition of philosophy focuses on normalities of rational thought and on the intellectual, logical traits required to manage perceptions rationally and evenhandedly (Paul, 1992). The tradition of psychology is more concerned about the thought process. The study of psychology examines empirical analysis of thinking and thought, the aspect of problem solving and the distinction of complex viewpoints of critical thought. Though each tradition is based on differing aspects of the thought process, each are deeply concerned with the emotional and motivational aspects, assessment of individual abilities and the restructuring of teaching methods that emphasize critical thinking.
Similar concepts such as decision making, reasoning, logic and problem solving are associated with critical thinking. Though the usage of these terms is commonly thought to be essentially interchangeable, professionals in the field of critical thought know that they describe different cognitive processes. Decision making entails evaluating advantages gained or lost if a course of action is followed, a process determined by specific criteria. Reasoning involves reaching a conclusion beginning with a specific premise or given information. Problem solving is generally characterized as the thought process that moves from the original problem situation towards a resolution by use of nonspecific methods such as