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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ribonuke's Avatar
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    Default (Ni) Introverted Intuition and Critical Thinking?

    I'm an INFJ. Most of my waking attention is spent pondering things, daydreaming and figuring out the dynamic interplay with all objects and ideas in the world. A lot of this includes figuring out what 'fits' and what 'doesn't fit', basically trying to make sense of everything I think about. An example; thinking about what makes sense in a political argument, what things I understand and what things I don't understand, and trying to make sense of the things I don't understand.

    Is this what critical thinking is?

    The reason I ask is because a lot of my college assignments ask for critical thinking, but I'm kinda stumped as to where to go from there. Like...I don't know how much farther I can go beyond what I'm already thinking about. Is it maybe because my mind is already doing critical thinking by itself, and that all I need to worry about is voicing those thoughts into a cohesive writing assignment?

    I'm very...worried. I tend to be extremely anal-retentive when it comes to writing assignments, to the point where I just fret about every little detail, trying to make sure I'm not half-a$$ing things.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    When I was in college, critical thinking meant we had to work in a group and 'problem solve' as a group to find the best solution to a problem or answer to a question. I thought it was utterly ridiculous and a complete waste of my time.

    Having googled it just now, I think still it's just a part of the answer, if one is seeking truth, and ultimately wisdom. It's completely secular, and weighs heavily on science and the ability to 'prove' something. Rational thinking.

    As a dominant irrational, do I have to explain why I have an intense aversion to such a way of thinking, as it being, or pointing to, insightful knowledge and Truth?



    Furthermore, my thinking is completely fuzzy and non-descript. Things roil around in my brain and I can't really grasp, nor break them down in such a way as to ever fully explain how I think. I thought everyone was like this...? Thinking about how I think just feels like trying to explain a color. Or something like that. You know?
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  3. #3
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ribonuke View Post
    I'm an INFJ. Most of my waking attention is spent pondering things, daydreaming and figuring out the dynamic interplay with all objects and ideas in the world. A lot of this includes figuring out what 'fits' and what 'doesn't fit', basically trying to make sense of everything I think about. An example; thinking about what makes sense in a political argument, what things I understand and what things I don't understand, and trying to make sense of the things I don't understand.

    Is this what critical thinking is?

    The reason I ask is because a lot of my college assignments ask for critical thinking, but I'm kinda stumped as to where to go from there. Like...I don't know how much farther I can go beyond what I'm already thinking about. Is it maybe because my mind is already doing critical thinking by itself, and that all I need to worry about is voicing those thoughts into a cohesive writing assignment?

    I'm very...worried. I tend to be extremely anal-retentive when it comes to writing assignments, to the point where I just fret about every little detail, trying to make sure I'm not half-a$$ing things.

    Any advice?
    Are you a freshman? A starter definition could be this: critical thinkers see enough legitimately influential dimensions of force / perspectives worth arguing for that they feel this sense of angst, and like they can't be sure about anything anymore. Eventually the angst turns to a sense of freedom, of puzzle-solving, and trying to build a case like a courtroom lawyer, but you'll need to work your way through it. If you have never felt existential angst about how slippery all knowledge is, you're not at the freedom and playful part yet.

    Also: ask your comp instructor. They are paid to sit in office hours and no one shows up. Come with three questions, write down the key points that you two talk about while you're there (because when you leave you'll feel confused again), and then summarize your understanding at both the abstract level of generalization and the concrete level of an example, to show both of you how you're doing with grasping what they want from you.

    And if you're smart you'll bring a bulleted outline of your writing. You can talk about this.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
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  4. #4
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Critical thinking is a vague thing with definitions varying person-to-person.

    I see it as being skeptical more than anything - always asking why you should believe statements rather than just accepting them, always challenging assumptions, following along with other people's reasoning to make sure they actually did it properly, etc. Seeing different perspectives and possibilities and judging their worth.

    I don't know if it'd be tied to any function necessarily, but it seems like it might align well with Ti, based on information from Ni.

    edit: for your assignment, I'd guess that it just means something like "analyze/criticize this thing", but definitely ask your professor/TAs, because they'll actually know what they meant. If the instructions are literally as vague as "apply critical thinking to this thing", that is a pretty bad teacher, imo.
    -end of thread-

  5. #5
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I'd agree with Randomnity's definition of critical thinking.

    For me as an INFJ, I find that my thinking rabbit trails in a million directions and I have difficult assigning the correct weighting to various arguments or ideas and building a proper case for my opinion because it becomes very detailed and unwieldy and I can see any situation from multiple perspectives quite easily.

    I've found that in this setting, critical thinking means questioning something that is often taken for granted and building a case for another point of view using research, quotes and other resources. I am great for brainstorming, making analogies and building arguments, but I used to find it very difficult to come up with an outline limiting my ideas and then organizing the huge volume of research I read into something usable.

    If you have ENTJ or ESTJ friends in your life, they will be valuable resources in this effort. Te is great at paring thoughts down to the main kernel of the idea (whereas Ti is very detailed and often gets bogged down, particularly in combination with Ni). I think Ni will take you to some interesting ideas, but to have them be considered seriously, you need Te kind of structuring to make them accessible.

    Think of it much like building a court case (as Usehername said) and providing specific evidence for the ideas you are advancing. Probably the main thing I have learned is that the professor is not looking for every argument and idea relating to the topic (which is what I wanted to do and then got discouraged at the volume and unevenness of the ideas I wanted to include). Instead, decide on your structure (3 paragraph, 5 paragragh etc, pick that many ideas, find about three items to reference in each paragraph (preferably from varying sources throughout the paper) and that's it!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ribonuke's Avatar
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    Update:

    Thanks for all the replies, but I think I may have isolated my anxiety and frustration further.

    It takes me 5 hours to do an assignment that I believe should only take two. It's like I fret over 2-page assignments as if they were a midterm paper. I can't stand this, I need to fix this and figure out what I'm doing wrong.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ene's Avatar
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    Does your professor offer examples of papers you can refer to? Does he/she have you refer to a handbook as to the type of writing you are being asked to do? Approach your professor, tell him/her your concern and that you need clarity. I understand your desire to make a perfect score, [I share it], but don't let fear of failure cripple you. You have intuition. Use it to your advantage. When you think critically you just look at a subject analytically, you dissect it. You make connections. Do what you do naturally. Think outside the box. Better yet, redesign the box Critical thinking is a natural talent for an INFJ.

    And in the meantime, I have my hopes set high for you. I hope you'll post again later and let us know how things are going with the assignments.

    Ene.

  8. #8
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ribonuke View Post
    Update:

    Thanks for all the replies, but I think I may have isolated my anxiety and frustration further.

    It takes me 5 hours to do an assignment that I believe should only take two. It's like I fret over 2-page assignments as if they were a midterm paper. I can't stand this, I need to fix this and figure out what I'm doing wrong.
    I totally identify. The interesting thing is that if I'm helping someone else, I have no problem with that sort of thing. It's got something to do with wanting so badly to do a good job that I get paralyzed by the millions of Ni possibilities.

  9. #9
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Critical thinking: making a reasoned case for what you believe with respect to some issue or question.

    The thinking is considered critical if it seeks to expose the adequacy and/or relevance of the reasons for [the] belief.



    /not your professor
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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