In a previous post, I mentioned the five step thought kata my English teacher taught me.
After talking with him last week, taught me this advanced kata:
All thinking has a purpose with a point of view based on assumptions which have implications and consequences. With facts, data, and our experiences, we use inferences and judgments in order to solve problems and answer questions.”
(Richard Paul and Linda Elder of the critical thinking movement)
This is an excellent pattern for examining the claims of others. Of course, upon this kata, one must add the skills of logic and rhetoric, lest we misunderstand inferences.
As an aside, I know a doctoral supervisor who accuses students of making “leaps” whenever they simply make inferences that are easily supportable by citations and simply thinking in terms of facts and entailment.
The above kata also reminds us of how to examine our own thoughts. I suggest attempting to use it to deal with self-doubt, negative forms of self-talk, and feelings of low significance.