Critical Thinking vs. Common Sense: The Differences

Critical thinking and common sense are not the same thing. Discover the differences between these two ways of thinking.


In today’s world, it is crucial to be able to think critically and make informed decisions. We are bombarded with information constantly, from news articles to social media posts, and it can be difficult to determine what is true and what is not. This is where critical thinking comes into play.

While critical thinking and common sense may seem similar, they are actually quite different. Critical thinking is a systematic process of evaluating information and arguments, while common sense is more based on practical intelligence and personal experiences. Understanding the differences between the two is important for developing well-rounded decision-making skills.

In this blog, we will explore the concepts of critical thinking and common sense, highlighting their key differences and discussing their respective roles in decision-making. We will also delve into the importance of critical thinking in the modern world, where complex issues and diverse information sources require us to think critically in order to make well-informed judgments.

By the end of this blog, you will have a clearer understanding of critical thinking and common sense, and why it is crucial to cultivate critical thinking skills in today’s society. So let’s dive in and explore these fascinating topics!

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is a cognitive process that involves systematically analyzing information and arguments to determine their validity and relevance. It is a skill that allows individuals to evaluate and understand complex issues, question assumptions, and make informed judgments.

At its core, critical thinking involves actively and objectively assessing information and evidence to form rational and well-reasoned conclusions. It requires individuals to gather and evaluate different viewpoints, critically analyze evidence, and apply logical reasoning to arrive at well-informed decisions.

Critical thinking goes beyond simply accepting or rejecting information based on personal beliefs or opinions. It involves examining information and arguments from multiple perspectives, considering the context and credibility of the sources, and applying logical and analytical skills to assess the quality and reliability of the information.

The Importance of Critical Thinking

In today’s fast-paced and information-driven society, critical thinking skills have become increasingly important. With the abundance of information available at our fingertips, it is crucial to be able to discern between fact and opinion, identify bias and manipulation, and make informed decisions.

Critical thinking skills enable individuals to approach problems and complex issues with a systematic and analytical mindset. It allows them to identify and evaluate the underlying assumptions, biases, and logical fallacies in arguments, helping them build more accurate and well-supported conclusions.

By cultivating critical thinking skills, individuals become better equipped to navigate through the complexities of the modern world. They are more likely to be able to distinguish between reliable sources of information and misinformation, critically evaluate the claims and evidence presented to them, and make better decisions based on solid reasoning.

Moreover, critical thinking skills have broad applications and benefits across various aspects of life. They enhance problem-solving abilities, improve communication skills, and foster a deeper understanding of the world and its complexities. Critical thinking also promotes intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning, as individuals become more open to different ideas and perspectives.

In conclusion, critical thinking is an essential skill that allows individuals to evaluate and understand information and arguments in a systematic and analytical way. It enables them to make informed judgments, question assumptions, and navigate through the complexities of the modern world. By cultivating critical thinking skills, individuals can enhance their problem-solving abilities, improve their decision-making, and lead a more well-rounded and intellectually curious life.

What is Common Sense?

Common sense can be defined as practical intelligence and reasoning based on personal experiences and societal norms. It is the ability to navigate everyday life situations and make decisions that seem obvious and straightforward. Common sense is often ingrained in us from a young age and is shaped by our upbringing and cultural background.

Role of Common Sense in Everyday Decision Making

Common sense plays a crucial role in our everyday decision-making process. It helps us make quick judgments and act in ways that are generally considered acceptable by society. For example, when we see a traffic light turn red, common sense tells us to stop our vehicle because we know from our personal experience and societal norms that red means stop. Similarly, common sense tells us not to touch a hot stove or to look both ways before crossing the street.

Examples of Common Sense in Various Situations

Common sense manifests itself in a wide range of situations. Here are some examples:

  1. Social Etiquette: Common sense guides us on how to behave in social settings. For instance, we understand that it is impolite to interrupt someone when they are speaking, or that it is customary to shake hands when meeting someone for the first time.

  2. Personal Safety: Common sense helps us make decisions that ensure our safety. We know to avoid walking alone in dark and secluded areas at night or to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

  3. Time Management: Common sense helps us prioritize tasks and manage our time effectively. For example, it is common sense to finish important work before engaging in leisure activities or to prioritize urgent matters over less pressing ones.

  4. Financial Decisions: Common sense guides us in making sensible financial choices. We understand the importance of saving money, avoiding unnecessary debts, and spending within our means.

  5. Health and Well-being: Common sense plays a vital role in maintaining our physical and mental health. It tells us to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and seek medical help when necessary.

However, it is important to note that common sense is not foolproof. It can vary from person to person and may not always lead to the best outcomes. What may seem like common sense to one individual may not be the same for another. Furthermore, common sense can be influenced by personal biases, cultural norms, and past experiences, which may not always align with what is objectively true or beneficial.

While common sense is valuable in many situations, it should not be the sole basis for decision-making, especially in complex or unfamiliar scenarios. Relying solely on common sense can limit our understanding, critical thinking abilities, and willingness to consider alternative perspectives.

In the following sections, we will explore the key differences between critical thinking and common sense, highlighting the importance of developing critical thinking skills in today’s society.

Key Differences Between Critical Thinking and Common Sense

Objective Analysis vs. Personal Bias

Critical thinking involves the objective analysis and evaluation of information and arguments. It requires individuals to analyze evidence, question assumptions, and consider alternative perspectives. In contrast, common sense is often based on personal biases and assumptions. It relies on a person’s own beliefs and experiences, as well as societal norms, to make judgments and decisions.

Evidence and Logical Reasoning vs. Reliability

Critical thinking relies on evidence and logical reasoning to evaluate arguments and information. It requires individuals to seek out reliable sources, assess the credibility of information, and use logic to draw well-founded conclusions. Common sense, on the other hand, may not always be reliable. It can be influenced by cultural or societal norms that are not based on evidence or logical reasoning.

Teachability and Cultivation vs. Innate and Culturally Influenced

Critical thinking is a skill that can be taught and developed. It involves learning and applying specific techniques and strategies to improve one’s ability to analyze information and think critically. Common sense, however, is largely innate and culturally influenced. It is acquired through personal experiences and observations, as well as societal norms and values.

Flexibility vs. Limitations

Critical thinking is flexible and adaptable. It allows individuals to consider multiple perspectives, challenge assumptions, and update their beliefs based on new evidence. Common sense, on the other hand, can sometimes be limited and inflexible. It may rely on outdated or flawed beliefs, and individuals may be resistant to changing their views even in the face of contradictory evidence.

Application and Context

Critical thinking is applicable across different contexts and domains. It can be used in various situations, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and evaluating arguments. Common sense, however, is often specific to certain situations or contexts. It is more practical and intuitive in nature, guiding individuals in everyday decision-making rather than in-depth analysis.


In conclusion, critical thinking and common sense are two distinct ways of thinking. Critical thinking involves objective analysis, evidence, and logical reasoning, while common sense relies on personal biases and assumptions. Critical thinking is a teachable and adaptable skill, while common sense is largely innate and culturally influenced. Both thinking styles have their strengths and limitations and can complement each other in making well-rounded judgments and decisions. However, in today’s complex world, cultivating critical thinking skills is increasingly important for navigating information and making informed choices.

Importance of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills are increasingly essential in the modern world. As we face complex societal issues, technological advancements, and an abundance of information, the ability to think critically becomes paramount. Here are some reasons why critical thinking is crucial:

In today’s interconnected and rapidly changing world, critical thinking enables individuals to navigate complex issues effectively. Critical thinkers don’t rush to conclusions; instead, they analyze evidence, consider multiple perspectives, and form balanced judgments. By applying critical thinking skills, individuals can better understand and evaluate the complexities of important topics such as climate change, healthcare policies, and global conflicts.

Questioning Assumptions

Critical thinking encourages individuals to question assumptions and challenge established beliefs. It pushes us to examine our own biases and the biases of others. By critically examining ideas and assumptions, we can uncover flaws, recognize biases, and gain a more nuanced understanding of issues. This is particularly important in a time when misinformation and fake news are prevalent. Critical thinkers are less likely to fall prey to manipulation and are better equipped to separate fact from fiction.

Making Informed Judgments

Critical thinking equips individuals with the tools to make informed judgments. It encourages intellectual curiosity and a sense of skepticism. By critically evaluating information, individuals can distinguish between credible sources and unreliable ones. They develop the ability to assess the validity of arguments, recognize logical fallacies, and identify manipulative tactics. This enables them to make reasoned and well-informed decisions in different aspects of life, from choosing a candidate to vote for in an election to making important personal choices.

Better Problem-Solving

Critical thinking is closely linked to effective problem-solving. It helps individuals break down complex problems into manageable parts, analyze each component, and generate creative solutions. By employing logical reasoning and evaluation, critical thinkers can identify potential pitfalls and consider alternative approaches. This ability to think critically and solve problems efficiently is invaluable in the workplace, academia, and daily life.

Fostering Innovation

Critical thinking is essential for fostering innovation and progress. It encourages individuals to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and come up with innovative ideas. Critical thinkers aren’t afraid to question established paradigms and propose alternative solutions. In a world where innovation is often the driving force behind success, cultivating critical thinking skills is vital for personal growth and societal advancement.

In conclusion, critical thinking plays a significant role in our lives, allowing us to navigate complex issues, question assumptions, make informed judgments, solve problems, and foster innovation. In an era where information overload and misinformation abound, it is essential to cultivate critical thinking skills. By embracing critical thinking and engaging in intellectual curiosity, we can gain a more well-rounded perspective and approach challenges with a more discerning mind.


In conclusion, critical thinking and common sense are two distinct but important cognitive processes that play a significant role in decision-making and problem-solving. While common sense is based on personal experience and societal norms, critical thinking is a systematic and objective evaluation of information and arguments.

The key differences between critical thinking and common sense lie in their approach to analyzing information and their reliability. Critical thinking involves examining evidence and using logical reasoning to draw conclusions, whereas common sense may rely on personal biases and assumptions. Critical thinking is a teachable and learnable skill that can be developed over time, while common sense is largely influenced by innate reasoning abilities and cultural traditions.

Importantly, critical thinking skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s complex world. As the amount of information we are exposed to continues to grow exponentially, it is crucial to have the ability to evaluate and discern reliable sources and discern fact from fiction. Critical thinking helps us navigate through conflicting views, question assumptions, and make informed judgments.

Moreover, critical thinking promotes better problem-solving and decision-making by allowing us to consider multiple perspectives, analyze arguments, and weigh evidence. It empowers individuals to approach issues with intellectual curiosity, challenging prevailing beliefs and exploring new possibilities.

In a society that is constantly bombarded with information and opinions, the cultivation of critical thinking skills is essential. By embracing critical thinking, individuals can obtain a more well-rounded and informed perspective, enabling them to make thoughtful decisions and contribute to meaningful discussions.

Therefore, I encourage readers to actively engage in developing their critical thinking abilities. Seek out opportunities to examine information critically, ask questions, and challenge assumptions. Embrace intellectual curiosity and continue to refine and expand your critical thinking skills. By doing so, we can foster a society that values thoughtful analysis and informed decision-making.