Critical thinking is reasoned and reflective judgment applied to solving problems or making decisions about what to believe or what to do.
Critical thinking gives reasoned consideration to defining and analyzing problems, identifying and evaluating options, inferring likely outcomes and probable consequences, and explaining the reasons, evidence, methods and standards used in making those analyses, inferences and evaluations.
Critical thinking is skeptical without being cynical, evaluative without being judgmental, and purposefully focused on following reasons and evidence wherever they may lead.
This definition is based on the Executive Summary of Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction (the APA “Delphi Report”)
For more on critical thinking download your personal copy of Dr. Peter Facione’s widely cited essay, “Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts.”