Critical thinking is logical decision making. Critical thinker’s decisions are only based on facts and logical thinking. For a skilled critical thinker, decisions are made once the information is clear and concise, as well as being open to alternative end results that are also based off of facts and possible collaboration. For most, being a skilled critical thinker, is learned as we mature and are exposed to more situations where thinking is the only way to find a conclusion.
Ethics are the beliefs of a society and individuals of what is right and wrong. Most people use ethics as a means to direct the choices they make in life as well as the way they treat others during interactions. Ethics are derived from many different places, your parents and close family member in regards to how you were raised, your religious community or lack of religion and the people that you surround yourself with. Ethics can also be described as how you feel, when faced with a choice, this is called your moral judgment.
Why we need ethical decision making
For many people, you are not solely a critical thinker or an ethical thinker. Most people will listen to their moral judgment as well as review facts before coming to a conclusion. The reason this is so important for society is because not all logical conclusions are ethical. For example, it is law that you may not break into a strangers car, however if you see a baby inside on a hot day, most people would feel that it would be ethically wrong to just walk away while said baby suffers and possible dies. This is an example of a logical decision, do not break into a car, is not always an ethical decision, save a baby’s life.
Not all facts and reasoning can negate an ethical choice. Sometime, what is logically correct is wrong in the face of someone’s morality. This is why ethical decision making is important in critical thinking, because sometimes, although a choice may not be critically correct, the ends could save others from pain and heartache, and that is where it becomes an ethically sound choice.
Manias, N & Monroe, D & Till, J.E. (2013) Ethics Applied
Ruggiero, V.R. (2015). Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.