Dispositions and Abilities that Are Contributory By definition, a person who acts voluntarily is both willing and able to act voluntarily at the time. In the sense that the voluntary action would not occur if either (or both) of these were lacking, the willingness and the ability both contribute causally to the person’s action. Take, for instance, the scenario in which a person stands with their arms at their sides and voluntarily raises their right arm to a horizontally extended position. One wouldn’t do so on the off chance that one couldn’t lift one’s arm, on the off chance that for instance one’s right side was incapacitated as the consequence of a stroke. If, for instance, one were participating in a street demonstration where a white supremacist was urging the crowd to raise their right arm in a Nazi salute and one were unwilling to express support in this manner for the racist Nazi ideology, one would not do so either. A mental process of voluntary critical thinking is subject to the same analysis. It requires the ability to think critically as well as the willingness to carry out each of the mental actions that make up the process, as well as the coordination of those actions in a sequence aimed at resolving the initial confusion.

Prioritize willingness. Consider the factors that would prevent someone who was able to think critically about an issue from doing so in order to identify causal contributors to willingness to think critically (Hamby, 2014). As a result, the opposite condition influences a person’s capacity for critical thinking in a given situation for each factor. For instance, even if a person has the necessary skills, they will not be able to think critically about the issues that come up because they regularly jump to conclusions without considering other options. Therefore, a causal factor that contributes to critical thinking is the opposite condition of willingness to suspend judgment.

Now think about ability. In contrast to the ability to move one’s arm, which can be completely lost when a stroke renders the arm paralyzed, the ability to think critically is a developed skill whose lack not only prevents one from thinking well but also from thinking well. In terms of the norms and standards for good thinking, we can directly identify the capacity for good thinking. In general, one must be aware of the concepts and principles that characterize good performance in the thinking activities that can be part of a critical thinking process, recognize when the concepts and principles apply, and apply them. It’s possible that the recognition, application, and knowledge are procedural rather than declarative. In either case, subject-matter expertise, sometimes of a more in-depth kind, may be required because it may be domain-specific rather than broadly applicable.

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