Through curiosity and probable skepticism, he not only worked out the basic rules for matter and energy in the universe — he also realized that the force causing objects to fall was the same as the force causing celestial objects to orbit around each other (thus discovering the modern theory of gravity).
He was also known for having a big ego and being a little arrogant with those he considered beneath his intellect — but even Newton had enough humility to recognize that he wasn’t doing it alone.
Too often, people talk about critical thinkers as though they’re solitary explorers, forging their own path through the jungle of ideas without help from others. Real critical thinking means you constantly engage with other people, listen to what they have to say, and try to imagine how they see the world.
By seeing things from someone else’s perspective, you can generate far more new ideas than you could by relying on your own knowledge alone.
Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension.
But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble.” (Carl Sagan, In this quote, Carl Sagan offers a sensitive analysis of a tension within the idea of critical thinking.This is closely connected to curiosity — if you’re arrogant and think you know everything already, then you have no reason to be curious.But a humble person always recognizes the limitations and gaps in their knowledge.Enlightenment thinkers understandably rejected traditional thinking, holding it responsible for all this violence and injustice.But still, the Enlightenment sometimes went too far in the opposite direction.Skepticism keeps you on the lookout for bad arguments, and rationality helps you figure out exactly arguments when you see them, and then to move beyond them and understand their further implications.It’s not enough to just be skeptical and knock the holes in every argument that you hear.Sooner or later you have to come up with your own ideas, your own solutions, and your own visions.That requires a creative and independent mind, but one that is also capable of listening and learning.So critical thinking absolutely depends on traditions.There’s no question that critical thinking means something Until Einstein, no physicist was ever more influential than Isaac Newton.