cogitans alta voce 

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Constraints on Thinking

Thinking out loud here. This is a rough cut.

What are the constraints on thinking and solving?

  • Metaphors, particularly un-acknowledged metaphors.
  • Language itself, where concepts not expressible in our language are beyond our ken or ability to reason. For example, the lack of a French word for “like” (as in “I like ponies”).
  • Semantics, where the choice of word is a rhetorical device to influence thinking. For example, political correctness.
  • Grand narratives, which require axioms and conclusions to conform to a common model that explains how the world works. Ideas that do not fit (eg “3% growth year on year is exponential and therefore unsustainable indefinitely”) cannot be processed.
  • Alliteration. If a mnemonic for remembering a list of things starts with the same letter for the first 3 items, there is increasing pressure to name each successive item with a word starting with the same letter. 

Wondering if there are others…

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