How is Critical Thinking Different from Analytical Thinking?

Critical thinking involves:

Critical Thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analysis and evaluation, especially as it relates to what we hear by way of points that are raised or issues which are put forward for discussion. It includes the process of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a sound judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense. Hence, Critical Thinking is most successful when it effectively blends our natural senses or feelings with our logic and intuition, all applied in a systematic manner. It involves the following main activities:

  • Deeply evaluating how far information we are given is current, up-to-date and accurate.
  • Checking for bias or unsubstantiated assumptions.
  • Evaluating how far the evidence or opinions presented genuinely proves the point(s) claimed.
  • Weighing up opinions, arguments or solutions against appropriate (usually logical) criteria.
  • Making inferences from the data/information and filling in “gaps”.
  • Taking a clear line of reasoning through to its logical conclusion.
  • Checking whether the evidence/argument really support the conclusions.

Analytical thinking involves:

Analytical thinking is a thinking process or skill in which an individual has the ability to scrutinize and break down facts and thoughts into their strengths and weaknesses. It involves thinking in thoughtful, discerning ways, in order to solve problems, analyze data, and recall and use information. It involves the following main activities:

  • Focusing on facts and evidence
  • Analyzing data or information or systems
  • Dissecting data/information and the analysis of complex things into simpler constituents
  • Reasoning – thinking that is coherent and logical
  • Partitioning, breakdown – an analysis into mutually exclusive categories
  • Eliminating extraneous data or  analysis of a problem into alternative possibilities followed by the systematic rejection of unacceptable alternatives
  • Analyzing trends or the analysis of changes over time. Ref

Doubt is not a method it’s a epistemic attitude of uncertainty or a lack of convocation; whereas reason can be a method and is generally a epistemic attitude towards careful thinking, possessed understanding and a desire for developed justification adhering to rationality.

Standard epistemic attitudes are belief, suspension of judgment, and disbelief. Certain propositional attitudes are capable of being reasonable or well taken in light of the evidence. These are the epistemic attitudes. It is not a trivial hypothesis that we manifest any of them in everyday life. It is a trivial hypothesis that by doing so we open aspects of that life to epistemic evaluation. Obviously, common-sense insists that we manifest epistemic attitudes with great frequency. But it also conceptualizes them in at least two different ways. On the one hand, common-sense recognizes a coarse-grained space of epistemic attitudes consisting in belief, disbelief and suspended judgment. On the other hand, it recognizes a fine-grained space of them consisting in countless levels of confidence. Ref


To further explain suspension of judgment, disbelief and belief epistemic (or cognitive) attitudes one can take toward a proposition (statement, idea, or assertion expressing a conclusion, judgment or opinion). Note there are rational beliefs and irrational beliefs; rational disbeliefs and irrational disbeliefs; rational suspension of Judgments and irrational suspension of judgments. Also note that once epistemic attitude of belief (and disbelief) can and likely will come in degrees. Thus a thinker’s epistemic attitudes may be certain (psychologically certain, epistemically certain, pr both) that a proposition is true (warranted, justified, or supported) or may only be highly confident that a proposition is true. These are both varieties of believing or disbelieving that a proposition is true or likely true.
• Suspension of Judgment. If you are unable to reach a
conclusion concerning the truth-value of a proposition, then the
appropriate attitude toward that proposition is suspension of judgment.
• Disbelief. If you conclude that a proposition is false, then
the appropriate attitude toward that proposition is disbelief.
• Belief. If you conclude that a proposition is true, then
the appropriate attitude toward that proposition is belief. Ref
I don’t claim to be an expert, only a thoughtful thinker and although I wish to offer ideas for other thinkers to learn; I see myself as a fellow learner in a shared journey of all great thinkers in the process of being lifelong learners.
By Damien Marie AtHope