Critical Reading – Concept, examples and what is inference

We explain what a critical reading is and what this analysis consists of. Also, examples of critical reading and what is inference.

critical reading
Critical reading is the most common way of putting critical thinking into practice.

What is a critical reading?

When we speak of a critical reading, we refer to a deep analysis of a text, who is not content with deciphering what it says, but is given the task of understanding its points of support, discovering possible counterarguments and implicit messages, or interpreting its content from different points of view.

In this way, a critical reading of any text tests his network of ideas and arguments, putting it in relation to a context, a tradition or a genre in which they are inscribed, and also providing elements for a more complete and complex understanding of the text. It is the most common way of putting critical thinking into practice.

Through this reading procedure, in addition, independent texts and discourses can be constructed, just as literary criticism does with works of literature: it constructs essays that, based on the readings made and supported by textual quotations, offer a point of Interpretive view regarding a book or an author’s work.

There is no single method or universal way to carry out critical reading. On the contrary, all critical reading proposes a method (or follows one already proposed) to establish specific conclusions about what has been read.

That is why ancient texts, like works of classical literature, can be read again and find in them more and more possible meanings, without ever exhausting the aesthetic or philosophical value of the work.

Critical reading example

critical reading
There is no single method of conducting a critical reading.

An imaginary example of critical reading could be made on a story in which the characters, soccer players, face a legendary rival team, by which they are defeated miserably.

A critical reading of the story would subject the text to questions and considerations regarding the rules of the fictional universe represented there, to provide clues regarding the message underlying the anecdote. For instance:

  • In what context does the story take place? Where and at what time? What was happening in the world while the story was happening?
  • What narrative tradition does the author belong to and what possible literary authors does he refer to in his story, or what historical events does he refer to?
  • How do you describe the protagonists and antagonists, and what political, social, or ideological values ​​do these descriptions reveal?
  • What other similar stories can be used to compare the construction of this story?

Once certain arguments have been extracted, it will be possible to quote fragments of the story to support what has been said and thus later deduce a series of possible conclusions about the author, the story or the tradition in which it is inscribed.

What is inference?

An inference is a deduction.

An inference is a deduction: a reasoning in which non-explicit conclusions are drawn from a set of premises, thus leading to a new result. All inference is based on a mental evaluation, in which various elements of the premises evaluated in the abstract are collated and a logical implication is drawn between them and a specific conclusion.

A traditional example of inference or deduction is the immediate inferences of formal logic, such as the following case:

If A = C and B = C, it is possible to deduce (infer) that A = B, a new conclusion that follows from the premises.