Saturday, October 16, 2010

Responses 001 (2011-2012)

This is the first response to a specific topic from the latest list. Question 1 in that list reads, "Knowledge is generated through the interaction of critical and creative thinking. Evaluate this statement in two areas of knowledge."

The safest way to start an approach to this question, apart from some high-calibre rifles and an armoured vehicle, is to quickly and ruthlessly diminish the range of definition for the terms 'critical' and 'creative'. It is good to note that 'critical', coming as it does from Greek kritias, or 'judge', implies a convergent paradigm. You can probably think of 'critical thinking' as somewhat synonymous with convergent and reductionist thought, designed to evaluate through the use of logical reasoning. Similarly, it is good to note that 'creative' comes from Latin creare, 'to produce' — 'creative thinking' is somewhat synonymous with divergent thought which produces alternatives and expands the frame of reference and/or the field of discussion.

That would make the statement to be evaluated in this question something like: "Knowledge is generated through the interaction of convergent and divergent thinking." Clearly, this is somewhat like the operation of inductive and deductive reasoning in science — induction converges towards a rule, while deduction expands the scope of a rule. You can think of it as pruning a plant: let it grow divergently until it reaches a certain limit, then cut it back to give it the shape you want.

The main problem here is to make sure you don't diverge from your definitions of 'critical' and 'creative'. If you do, nothing will be able to save you from vagueness. You will also have to produce specific (as opposed to rhetorical) examples showing the interaction of these two directions of thought.

Apart from that, this is an easy question. Perhaps, it is made a little more difficult by the fact that it doesn't specify the terms of engagement: some of the others help by telling you what areas of knowledge or ways of knowing you ought to be looking at.

It is also, because of this, a more 'free-form' question. Apart from the usual common-sense suggestions found elsewhere in this blog, there is no special advice attached to it. It's actually pretty boring.

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Blogger LoneRifle said...

.... so why the need for high-calibre rifles?

Captcha: bitscan - Inspecting a diverse field of knowledge by converging on successive bits.

Saturday, October 16, 2010 7:10:00 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

hello sir,
I was planning to do my essay on this topic. After reading your response I am a bit confused as to go ahead with this topic or no. I was planning to take arts and natural sciences as my areas of knowledge. What are your views on these areas of knowledge?

Friday, January 06, 2012 7:28:00 pm  
Blogger Trebuchet said...

Unknown: Well, it's hard for me to give you useful advice if you aren't saying why you're confused... :)

The other, more important consideration is: what do you mean by an AOK? It seems fashionable to use huge areas such as 'the arts' or 'the natural sciences', but these can be difficult unless you can define them. Smaller AOKs like 'music' (instead of 'the arts') and 'geology' (instead of 'the natural sciences') may be easier to handle.

Whatever you do, don't mix up 'the arts' and 'the humanities', for example. (You can use this post to help you.) Don't refer to technology or engineering as natural sciences, since they are clearly applied sciences or technical arts. And enjoy yourself!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:50:00 pm  

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