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Discussion Starter #1
I can only find "pros" for critical thinking. Yet the characteristics in the list below are the things that non-INTJs strongly object to in me and are usually thought of as my negative characteristcs. So far no one has been able to offer an explanation as to why they don't like these characteristics, so I thought someone here might be able to put it into words. Also I am curious as to whether most INTJs naturally excel at or are very motivated to use critical thinking in any or all areas of their life. Here is a list of characteristics.

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Characteristics of People who Excel at Critical Thinking

Truth seeking: A courageous desire for the best knowledge, even if such knowledge fails to support or undermines one's preconceptions, beliefs or self-interests.

Open-mindedness: Tolerance to divergent views, self-monitoring for possible bias.

Analyticity: Demanding the application of reason and evidence, alert to problematic situations, inclined to anticipate consequences.

Systematicity: Valuing organization, focus and diligence to approach problems of all levels of complexity.

Critical Thinking Self-Confidence: Trusting of one's own reasoning skills and seeing oneself as a good thinker.

Inquisitiveness: Curious and eager to acquire knowledge and learn explanations even when the applications of the knowledge are not immediately apparent.

Cognitive Maturity: Prudence in making, suspending or revising judgment. An awareness that multiple solutions can be acceptable. An appreciation of the need to reach closure even in the absence of complete knowledge.

These characteristics are measured by California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory: calpress.com.
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I don't think this is necessarily an INTJ issue...I think it probably extends to all NT's at least to some degree, and probably even just to T's in general.

They key thing is understanding the context in which you're applying the idea of critical thinking. When it comes to academic, political, scientific, or any other intellectual areas (sometimes even extending to cultural and social situations), then of course there are only going to be pros of critical thinking. The thing is that these are the kinds of topics that NT's tend to live for and constantly seek out...it's what they like to think about. Part of that is being an N...focusing on problems and how to fix them, big picture issues, situations that affect humanity as a whole. NF's probably focus more on the emotional and personal side of those issues a little more, whereas NT's look at it from a more logical and objective standpoint.



But for other types, particularly sensors, other things are more important in life. Enjoying oneself, activities/experiences, relationships with friends/family/loved ones, and getting a sense of fulfillment out of work are more central than these large scale intellectual issues that may not affect someone on a daily basis. In a lot of these situations, the most logical decision isn't necessarily what's most important to a person...their own personal sense of happiness and enjoyment is the most important.



My post in this thread kind of sums this up:

http://personalitycafe.com/intp-forum-thinkers/30175-why-intps-said-cold-too-logical.html



teddy564339 said:
I think most of this is based on particular situations. Sometimes NT's strike me as too serious, because it seems like every little thing they analyze. If I tell someone a funny story, sometimes it ruins the enjoyment if someone takes it too seriously and tries to explain why it happened.

I always wonder if there's a difference between how NT's experience music and movies as well. When I watch a movie, I'm usually looking to escape into that world to forget about reality...I care more about how the movie makes me feel. If someone afterward tries to point out the problems with details in the plot, it kind of ruins the experience for me.


I guess sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by too much thinking and logic. I've been worn out by over-thinking a situation or by thinking about issues that don't affect me, and it ends up making me miserable and keeps me from enjoying life. I'm not saying this can't happen to NT's, but it seems like they almost get energized by thinking about things like that. Even though I know it's completely different than the extraversion/introversion energy idea, sometimes it feels similar. And it's hard to explain this feeling to an NT without feeling stupid or inferior...but it's just the way I am.


Of course, it's not just NT's that do this, and it's not even just thinkers who do this...feelers can overwhelm me with too much logic as well at times. But it's a lot more likely to happen with an NT, I think.



So I think the key thing to keep in mind is that a lot of people don't get pleasure out of thinking about everything all of the time...it drives NT's more than it does other temperaments.

That's not to say that critical thinking isn't important, and people of all types need it, need to know how to use it, and need to be able to apply it to appropriate situations. Sadly, many people don't. However, that doesn't mean that it has to be something that someone does for every little situation and every single instance. If it works best for you, that's fine, there's no logical argument against it. However, like Filo said, you have to understand that not everyone is built to get pleasure and enjoyment out of doing it all of the time...so if you're not willing to adapt, you have to accept that some people aren't going to like it.

And even for NT's, I've seen that for the most part social relationships, especially those with other temperaments, are still important. If they weren't, then there wouldn't be NT's asking for advice on the ISFJ forum about ways to interact with an ISFJ they know. :wink:

So I've always felt it's important not to look down on someone or view them as simple-minded or stupid just because they don't constantly engage in critical thinking all of the time. That way it's easier to show someone why it's important and how it should be used. In return, they're more likely to not view you as cold, angry and uptight, and good relationships can be formed.


As far as your individual points go:

calliope said:
Truth seeking: A courageous desire for the best knowledge, even if such knowledge fails to support or undermines one's preconceptions, beliefs or self-interests.
This is something that appeals more to an NT, and probably to a T in general, because for some people, one's beliefs or self-interests are more important than knowledge. For some people, including myself, being happy in life is more important than knowing absolute truth. Some people have felt I'm stupid or crazy for being this way. I always privately would like them to evaluate me as a person by looking at all of my characteristics and qualities rather than using this as the only criteria, but I'm also willing to accept the fact that not everyone is going to approve of how I live my life. Respect is always the most important thing for me in both directions.

calliope said:
Open-mindedness: Tolerance to divergent views, self-monitoring for possible bias.
This one I think is important to everyone, and SJ's in particular probably need to work on it the most in general. However, I do think that Fe can actually support this notion, even if the driving force behind it is quite different than it is for Te or Ti.

calliope said:
Analyticity: Demanding the application of reason and evidence, alert to problematic situations, inclined to anticipate consequences.
I don't think this one can be argued against, but as I said before, the thing is that for some people constantly doing it doesn't give results that are worth the effort.

calliope said:
Systematicity: Valuing organization, focus and diligence to approach problems of all levels of complexity.
Same thing...I believe this is important, but some people have a greater mental capacity for it than others. Too much thinking wears out some people more than others. It should always be done, but one must be aware that not everyone is as driven by it to the same degree.

calliope said:
Critical Thinking Self-Confidence: Trusting of one's own reasoning skills and seeing oneself as a good thinker.
This one is important, but it can only come with practice in one's own abilities, and not everyone has the same opportunities for it.

calliope said:
Inquisitiveness: Curious and eager to acquire knowledge and learn explanations even when the applications of the knowledge are not immediately apparent.
Same as with systemacity. I think people should be more inquisitive, but especially to sensors, not everyone has the same mental energy to do it.

calliope said:
Cognitive Maturity: Prudence in making, suspending or revising judgment. An awareness that multiple solutions can be acceptable. An appreciation of the need to reach closure even in the absence of complete knowledge.
I view this one as very similar to open-mindedness.







So basically...I don't think there are any logical problems or cons with critical thinking. But your issue is as much of a social one as it is a logical one. The people who have criticized you have probably not had a problem with your critical thinking itself, but probably more with the fact that it drives your life whereas theirs may be driven by other experiences.
 

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I agree with all of those 'critical thinking' points, and all are things I prize highly (though Systematicity isn't always my strong suit). So yeah, I don't think it is just an INTJ thing, as I am INFP and I couldn't agree more with the points mentioned.

The only 'con' I can think of is if you are not aware of other people's perceptions, you may harm them and unintentionally yourself by your judgements.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree with all of those 'critical thinking' points, and all are things I prize highly (though Systematicity isn't always my strong suit). So yeah, I don't think it is just an INTJ thing, as I am INFP and I couldn't agree more with the points mentioned.

The only 'con' I can think of is if you are not aware of other people's perceptions, you may harm them and unintentionally yourself by your judgements.

How can anyone harm someone else by not being aware of their perceptions???
 

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Since you've already said about the Pros, I'll say about the Cons

Cons:
Too Awesome => You piss everyone off.
Psychological Stress => You go insane and start chatting about the weather with your imaginary friend.
Narcissism => Oh shit, I'm too awesome for this world. Now what?
Ridiculously high expectations => WTF? How can I miss this point?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So if someone naturally has the potential, with practice, to be able to control their behavior and see beyond instant gratification and create and achieve, after a few decades of focus and application, one's life goals and get a handle on what it takes to find security economically and in their relationships to the point where the only major problems they have are things that are out of anyone's control, to me that is an edge, a step up in life, an advantage. I haven't seen any area where critical thinking doesn't work. And the "not having fun" aspect I just don't buy. You can use critical thinking to choose the companionship and create the money that makes fun at levels that drinking beer in front of the T.V. don't get to, particularly if you choose the non-fun activities that create exponentially more fun than the un-fun-ness takes away.

At this point, my opinion holds that using the components of critical thinking is preferable to other perceptual styles. My confession is that I am really glad that I am able to naturally use this way of thinking and I feel guilty that others can't do it as well. I feel that my quality of life would suck if I was another type. I am trying to break my prejudice that my way of perceiving is more preferable than others'. But the more I look at it the more biased I am towards INTJ or at least NT. And I've looked through other forums as much as I can handle. And I really wouldn't want to have those combinations of perceptual preference. I don't think I would be able to systematically create what I want in my life.

I realize that it makes you different, and trying to maintain relationships with most people can be a nightmare, but do I want to have a worse life so others like me more? I get that once you take things apart to this level you lose the mystery of life and that you have to give up a lot of spontaneity to monitor everything, and those are drawbacks. But it feels like the main gripe others have is that it's just too difficult to maintain the kind of concentration that it takes to "play chess" with life. So I can't help but have this feeling that if others had the natural ability to do it they would choose it. Do people who don't have this combination dislike our perceptual style because they resent how easy it is for us, or am I actually just the most arrogant, obnoxious, self-centered person on the planet?:tongue:
 

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1) Bluntness can be a bitch! We see critical thinking as objective. Other's see it as an attack on their personality. Hmm?

2) How perfect is perfect? We make our logic. But we think it could do with some tweaking, here, and there, and maybe just a little there, and possibly I can edit that last bit, and perhaps change that introduction and...
 

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How can anyone harm someone else by not being aware of their perceptions???
The less aware you are, the more harm you will cause.

Someone who is aware of their audience's thoughts and feelings, and can relate to them, will connect much better with them. In a discussion, some who appear close-minded are simply coming from a different point of view than you. If you understand their perception, you can help lead them from where they are to the point that you are making.

However, if you aren't aware of their perceptions (or even your own), you will likely come off as strange or even as an enemy, and the audience will immediately get defensive rather than sympathetic to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The less aware you are, the more harm you will cause.

Someone who is aware of their audience's thoughts and feelings, and can relate to them, will connect much better with them. In a discussion, some who appear close-minded are simply coming from a different point of view than you. If you understand their perception, you can help lead them from where they are to the point that you are making.

However, if you aren't aware of their perceptions (or even your own), you will likely come off as strange or even as an enemy, and the audience will immediately get defensive rather than sympathetic to you.
It sounds like you might be confusing not making others happy with harming them. Even if not understanding their perspective makes them uncomfortable, it is still not harming them. Also, not connecting well with someone does not fall under the definition of harming them. And as long as you are using critical thinking, you will not be dismissing any confusing behavior or conclusions by another. You will just assume that they have a perspective that you do not yet understand, therefore you will avoid harming them by not being closed-minded. So I am still curious how just the unawareness of another's perspective could cause them harm.
 

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Ohhhh yes, my INFJ and I have these very debates frequently. LOL! I love 'em, even though they drive me loco en la cabeza! :wink:
 

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i noticed that my critical thinking can be greatly altered by what kind of mood i am in. If im depressed i break down things into their most depressing parts and then suddenly every thing i think is for the worst way possible.
 

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So I am still curious how just the unawareness of another's perspective could cause them harm.
Think of all the wars that have ever happened -- every one of them was caused by a failure to see the other side, whether they were right or wrong, and obviously we all know that almost nothing causes more harm than a war.

I think I understand what you are saying, that critical thinking is so objective we shouldn't really care what the other person thinks, because if we want the correct answer, we've got to follow critical thinking, not what other people would like to be true. That's totally correct. Independently, this is the method I would advocate taking. Other people's happiness does not equal truth.

With that said, just when you are discussing with others, it will help the dialogue to try and relate to how that person is feeling, even if you know they are wrong. Then maybe they will listen more to what you say. It's kind of hard to explain, if you don't know it by social convention (simply being around others and observing) it is probably impossible to pick it up any other way.
 

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I find it very odd to equate critical thinking with not seeing someone else's side, particularly when open-mindedness is listed as a component. Thing is, to see their side, they need to actually say it - no one is a mind reader,whether they are using critical thinking or not. And then one can critically analyse their side...how else do you see it if you do not understand it?

Lack of information is a bad thing, but this is not something tied into critical thinking. The most one could say is that hypersensitive people will occasionally not tell you things because they are hypersensitive and afraid, whereas if they think you are a cuddly bunny, you may get more info from these particular people. Or you may get a lot less, because you are being patronised. It's a tradeoff. But to think critically is not to refuse information. An abrasive manner may put people off and cut off some information sources, but, again, this does not follow automatically from thinking critically - and to simply be uncomfortable with truth and analysis does not point to a flaw in truth or analysis.

When I read the title of the thread, my first reaction was "there are cons...?"

So far the main one is "other people don't like it sometimes - they prefer you to cultivate their delusions, or they want to cultivate their own." Myself, I cannot see that as a con to critical thinking - if there is any blame, it belongs to the person who cannot handle it.

There are some situations where it is not necessary. Blind loyalty to my hockey team is one instance where I myself use it less. And others may find a few more situation where the consequences for abandoning it are not significant, and so can use whatever they like. In many of the situations where others prefer not to use it, I will still prefer to do so (and be happy because of it, thanks), but it is not a problem to use or not use it when it is something small. The ability to enjoy another way of thinking where it doesn't matter as much is still not a con of critical thinking either though, for it can provide enjoyment in these areas too, for those who like it. That's more a neutral thing.
 
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