What Is a Critical Perspective?

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Taking a critical perspective involves adopting a viewpoint that asks questions about the rationale and legitimacy of something. The idea behind critical thinking is to remove normal biases from a point of view to determine whether a conclusion is the most valid one. To do this, a subject must be thoroughly analyzed.

According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, a critical approach is both “self-guided” and “self-disciplined.” Critical perspectives can be developed about virtually any subject, including art, economics, history, science and literature. Most essays that involve student research and analysis about a subject require students to present a critical perspective. The word “critical” is derived from the Greek “to judge.” The word “perspective” is from the Latin word for “optical.”

Critical perspectives are the basis for modern philosophy. Greek philosophers laid the foundations of developing critical perspectives thousands of years ago. Over time, however, the field of philosophy has built upon the basic process for critical thinking. The postmodern field of critical thinking is based largely on developments in the field since the latter half of the 20th century. There are now tests, classes and literature created specifically to help people develop their skills of critical analysis, and the Foundation for Critical Thinking even offers statistics on critical thinking research.