11 Rules For Critical Thinking

We found these challenging maxims compiled as "Prospero's Precepts" via a tweet by Brainpickings' Maria Popova (follow her @brainpicker for more curious brainfood).  Prospero, the Duke/magician of Shakespeare's The Tempest, could certainly give a speech, but he did not pen these thoughts, nor the bard himself.  

Sourced from several great thinkers, and one of unknown origin, these quotable parameters for constructive thought are rather thought-provoking in their own right.  Though Brainpickings doesn't elaborate on who originated this collection,  these "eleven rules culled from some of history’s greatest minds can serve as a general-purpose guideline for critical thinking in all matters of doubt." writes Popova.  


Prospero's Precepts

  1. All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level. -- Stephen Schneider
  2. Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. -- Dandemis? (unknown source)
  3. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. -- Francis Bacon
  4. Never fall in love with your hypothesis. -- Peter Medawar
  5. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong. -- Francis Crick
  7. The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting. -- Richard Feynman
  8. To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. -- Charles Darwin
  9. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. -- Mark Twain
  10. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. -- Thomas Jefferson
  11. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. -- Arthur Schopenhauer

What are your strategies for thinking critically?  Do you identify with any of the ideas above?