Theory: Divergent and Inegrative Thinking from Wikipedia Note

Theory: Divergent and Inegrative Thinking from Wikipedia
Note: Aristotle says that rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic – a rational and
logical process and a way of thinking. What is dialectic in the Greek sense of the
term (Plato)? In the dialogues, it is clear that Plato has an end in mind, for which the
dialogue is shaped and “straw-man” arguments created – which is somewhat ironic
considering he is arguing against such things as straw-man arguments as not
something we should do if we want to get to the truth of the matter. Aristotle’s
thinking, is described as linear – we move from point A to B to C. The syllogism is an
example. Aristotle also says that rhetoric, as counter part to dialectic, is based on
the enthymeme, which he says is a syllogism with two premises not three.
Socrates was a man.
Socrates is dead.
Therefore, all men are mortal.
(ps This could also suggest that women are immortal.)
Socrates is dead.
Therefore, all men are mortal.
Perhaps one of the most interesting interpretations of the switch from syllogism to
enthymeme is the switch from logical deduction to doxa (common knowledge) as a
premise for reasoning.
Thus, in Aristotle and following rhetorics, reasoning involves reasoning from the
common knowledge of the culture. (Jokes are examples of how common knowledge
is important to getting the joke. Sometime have someone from a different country
tell you a joke from their culture.) Thus, in rhetoric, cultural knowledge is central to
The idea of straight line thinking, along with a dependence on doxa, also has a big
influence on how we do research and thinking. A world in which the result is
predictable according to common sense leads us to think and act in the shortest line
possible to our goal, which is most often the solving of a problem. When we do
research, almost all our training in the science of research takes us to the straight line model as quickly as possible – unless we practice Copia, or the processes of
divergent and integrative thinking. These forms of thinking have become popular
because they are useful for solving wicked problems – those complex problems that
seem to resist any form of problem solving.
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring
many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with convergent thinking, which follows a
particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a "correct" solution.
Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas
are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short
amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking
has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent
Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality
traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among
people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and
persistence.[2] Additionally, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that musicians are more
adept at utilizing both hemispheres and more likely to use divergent thinking in their thought
Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time
for thinking and meditation, brainstorming, subject mapping / "bubble mapping", keeping a
journal, creating artwork, and free writing.[1] In free writing, a person will focus on one particular
topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness
Integrative thinkers differ from conventional thinkers among a number of dimensions. First, they
tend to consider most variables of a problem to be salient. Rather than seeking to simplify a
problem as much as possible, they are inclined to seek out alternative views and contradictory
data. Second, they are willing to embrace a more complex understanding of how those salient
features interconnect and influence one another, a more complex understanding of causality.
Rather than limiting the possible causal relationships to simple, linear, one-way dynamics, they
entertain the possibility that the causal forces may be multi-directional (i.e. circular) and complex.
Third, integrative thinkers approach problem architecture differently. Rather than try to deal with
elements in piece-parts or sequentially, they strive at all times to keep the whole of the problem in
mind while working on the individual parts. Finally, when faced with two opposing options that
seem to force a trade-off, integrative thinkers strive for a creative resolution of the tension rather
than simply accepting the choice in front of them.[3]