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Awesomelyglorious
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:45 pm    Post subject: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

At the moment an issue that comes to mind is the difference and the relationship between both conceptual thinking and analytical thinking.

Conceptual thinking is the kind of thinking that allows a person to "see" something that others may miss. It tends to be creative, and instead of working on detailed analysis, instead looks at the bigger picture. It emphasizes ideas and shifting perspective.

Analytical thinking, as I am currently defining it, is the kind of thinking that instead of focusing more on the big picture, instead focuses on a smaller scale with making detailed analyses of an issue and using these detailed analyses to create knowledge.

So, the issue I bring to you are a bunch of questions. For example: which kind of thinking do you think is more important? What kind of combination of the two is more valuable? Is conceptual thinking particularly useful? Is analytical thinking particularly useful? If you could be strong at one kind of thinking and weak in the other, which one? Which kind of thinking do you think that you are better at? Any other thoughts?
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Sand
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conceptual thinking is involved in discovering new relationships. Analytical thinking is involved in examining known relationships.Something must be conceived before it can be analyzed. The two are intertwined in creative thinking and both are necessary.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
So, the issue I bring to you are a bunch of questions. For example: which kind of thinking do you think is more important? What kind of combination of the two is more valuable? Is conceptual thinking particularly useful? Is analytical thinking particularly useful? If you could be strong at one kind of thinking and weak in the other, which one? Which kind of thinking do you think that you are better at? Any other thoughts?

The idea that either is more important than the other is bollocks. You need both to get much done.

I will say that I don't believe it is possible to do anything productive with only conceptual thinking. Looking at "big pictures" without any knowledge of the details means you are disconnected from the realities and nuances of the situation. Analytical thinking, and a focus on details, is necessary to inform a big picture view.

I'm more of a patterns guy than either conceptual or analytical. I take all the details I can get and try to organize them into patterns to get a sense of the bigger picture.
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Awesomelyglorious
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orwell wrote:

The idea that either is more important than the other is bollocks. You need both to get much done.

I will say that I don't believe it is possible to do anything productive with only conceptual thinking. Looking at "big pictures" without any knowledge of the details means you are disconnected from the realities and nuances of the situation. Analytical thinking, and a focus on details, is necessary to inform a big picture view.

I'm more of a patterns guy than either conceptual or analytical. I take all the details I can get and try to organize them into patterns to get a sense of the bigger picture.

Interesting. I brought this up partially because of a conversation we had.

I said I was more conceptual, and you claimed not to see the point of being conceptual or something like that. I can't fully remember.

I don't see human pattern finding ability as particularly meaningful or trustworthy. We are experts in making stuff up. I think it is better to go more into theorizing/paradigm creating than just pattern finding. Theories and paradigms are more substantive and lend themselves into deeper pursuits, after all, the issue isn't just finding an idea, but rather expanding it.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I said I was more conceptual, and you claimed not to see the point of being conceptual or something like that. I can't fully remember.

I think I was just being empiricist, and you didn't seem to think a theory needed empirical validation as much.

Quote:
I don't see human pattern finding ability as particularly meaningful or trustworthy. We are experts in making stuff up. I think it is better to go more into theorizing/paradigm creating than just pattern finding. Theories and paradigms are more substantive and lend themselves into deeper pursuits, after all, the issue isn't just finding an idea, but rather expanding it.

The human brain, fundamentally, is a pattern recognition device. It's how we learn language, it's how we learn to interact with others, it's how we approach most of life's situations and how we work to advance our knowledge of the world. We don't really have any grand theories for language (well, we do, but they're ad hoc and largely nonsense) and yet we all know how to speak English because we picked up on patterns of sounds when we were children and made sense of them.

Example: I play chess almost exclusively by pattern recognition, ie I look at the board and think "this looks a lot like a position I've seen before, and pushing my kingside pawns worked well then, so maybe it will also work this time." Trying to actually calculate the variations (the analytical/detailed way of thinking) is infeasible, even for most computers. Trying to just look at positional considerations (the conceptual approach) would leave you hanging pieces to simple tactics.

That said, I'm a math major. We're allowed to use our intuitions (which we develop by looking at and recognizing patterns) to arrive at a result, or to convince ourselves of why it must be true. But when we want to demonstrate it and have it accepted by our professors, we have to give the specific details. But anyways, I think the issue here is at least partly terminology, as I would count a lot of theories and paradigms within the realm of patterns. At the very least, noticing patterns gives us a starting point from which to develop a theory.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure there is a study on this. Who is happier kind of thing. From personal experience, type B people tend to be conceptual and far happier, well type A people tend to be more analytical, and quite a bit more stressed. If you ask which is more important for an individual, I would have to say conceptual, but if we're going with society, I lean a bit towards analytical because that is the application, and if you can expand indefinitely an a simple idea, then it will have a lot of valuable applications. Example A: math. Really simple idea to say "let's make this worth more than this." but it takes a very analytical mind to actually make something useful as the axioms from that.

Each has it's place, but if both didn't exist, I am not too sure we would have survived prehistory.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidelis wrote:
I'm sure there is a study on this. Who is happier kind of thing. From personal experience, type B people tend to be conceptual and far happier, well type A people tend to be more analytical, and quite a bit more stressed. If you ask which is more important for an individual, I would have to say conceptual, but if we're going with society, I lean a bit towards analytical because that is the application, and if you can expand indefinitely an a simple idea, then it will have a lot of valuable applications. Example A: math. Really simple idea to say "let's make this worth more than this." but it takes a very analytical mind to actually make something useful as the axioms from that.

Each has it's place, but if both didn't exist, I am not too sure we would have survived prehistory.


I have a hunch we're still in prehistory.
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Awesomelyglorious
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orwell wrote:

I think I was just being empiricist, and you didn't seem to think a theory needed empirical validation as much.

Well, observations are theory-laden anyway. Much of the time our observations are only for certain ideas, and therefore don't disprove ideas that are less related to the research topic.

Quote:

The human brain, fundamentally, is a pattern recognition device. It's how we learn language, it's how we learn to interact with others, it's how we approach most of life's situations and how we work to advance our knowledge of the world. We don't really have any grand theories for language (well, we do, but they're ad hoc and largely nonsense) and yet we all know how to speak English because we picked up on patterns of sounds when we were children and made sense of them.

Ok, but language is a particular pattern that human beings evolutionarily have to pick up anyway. The fact that we can pick up language isn't something special or magical, but rather a case of a brain doing exactly what it has had to do for generations. The brain has not had to deal with the kinds of abstractions though that we deal with today.

Quote:
Example: I play chess almost exclusively by pattern recognition, ie I look at the board and think "this looks a lot like a position I've seen before, and pushing my kingside pawns worked well then, so maybe it will also work this time." Trying to actually calculate the variations (the analytical/detailed way of thinking) is infeasible, even for most computers. Trying to just look at positional considerations (the conceptual approach) would leave you hanging pieces to simple tactics.

I would assign that to intuition, not "pattern recognition". Pattern recognition makes me think of something more along the line of arbitrary connections. Intuitions, however, can be molded, and I tend not to think of them as significantly different from the conceptual elements of thinking, as the two often blend together. Being good at being conceptual requires the ability to establish connections that are otherwise unseen, and this often doesn't follow very specific rules.

Quote:
That said, I'm a math major. We're allowed to use our intuitions (which we develop by looking at and recognizing patterns) to arrive at a result, or to convince ourselves of why it must be true. But when we want to demonstrate it and have it accepted by our professors, we have to give the specific details. But anyways, I think the issue here is at least partly terminology, as I would count a lot of theories and paradigms within the realm of patterns. At the very least, noticing patterns gives us a starting point from which to develop a theory.

It sounds like the issue might have originally been somewhat terminological in the start, yes. I mean, maybe I wouldn't be so directly empirical with conceptual thinking given that I don't see this as essential to intuition or anything like that, but... whatever.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to be more conceptual—and analytical—than the average person. I find that I get bored or restless if the more creative aspects of my mind aren't engaged along with the analytical.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
At the moment an issue that comes to mind is the difference and the relationship between both conceptual thinking and analytical thinking.

Conceptual thinking is the kind of thinking that allows a person to "see" something that others may miss. It tends to be creative, and instead of working on detailed analysis, instead looks at the bigger picture. It emphasizes ideas and shifting perspective.

Analytical thinking, as I am currently defining it, is the kind of thinking that instead of focusing more on the big picture, instead focuses on a smaller scale with making detailed analyses of an issue and using these detailed analyses to create knowledge.

So, the issue I bring to you are a bunch of questions. For example: which kind of thinking do you think is more important? What kind of combination of the two is more valuable? Is conceptual thinking particularly useful? Is analytical thinking particularly useful? If you could be strong at one kind of thinking and weak in the other, which one? Which kind of thinking do you think that you are better at? Any other thoughts?


I differ with your terminology. What you call conceptual thinking, I would call intuitive thinking. Analytical thinking requires abstraction, hence it is conceptual. Intuitive thinking is less logically exact, less linear and framed more with perceptual gestalts than is quantitative analytical thinking.

To do good mathematics one needs both kinds of thinking.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sand wrote:
Conceptual thinking is involved in discovering new relationships. Analytical thinking is involved in examining known relationships.Something must be conceived before it can be analyzed. The two are intertwined in creative thinking and both are necessary.


Perfect. I second that as well.

AG - I believe they're both of vital importance but I tend to lean slightly more conceptual as that's where my neurological/genetic gifts tend to be stronger and more naturally motivated.
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Awesomelyglorious
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

ruveyn wrote:

I differ with your terminology. What you call conceptual thinking, I would call intuitive thinking. Analytical thinking requires abstraction, hence it is conceptual. Intuitive thinking is less logically exact, less linear and framed more with perceptual gestalts than is quantitative analytical thinking.

To do good mathematics one needs both kinds of thinking.

ruveyn

I don't think that abstraction really leads to real conceptualization. There are some very mathematically gifted people who lack the ability to philosophically conceptualize things. That being said, I can understand your use of "quantitative analytical thinking" but I don't even think that this really follows either.

Additionally, I am not sure that doing good math is the same as what I am talking about. Yes, doing math has to include some ability to conceive of new ways to organize numbers, but it has less to do with new ways to organize reality itself in many cases. I mean, being good at math and even 4-dimensional analysis does not mean that one has philosophical gifts, and many engineering majors are very mathematically gifted but tend to not be abstract in the right ways.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they're both important.

I'm stronger at conceptual thinking - or more likely, there's a relative lack of rigorous conceptual thinking, so it's easier for me to be relatively stronger at it. I'm not sure whether the lack of rigorous conceptual thinking is because analytical thinking is more common, or because conceptual thinkers are more likely to lack rigor.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:52 am    Post subject: Re: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

Awesomelyglorious wrote:

I don't think that abstraction really leads to real conceptualization. There are some very mathematically gifted people who lack the ability to philosophically conceptualize things. That being said, I can understand your use of "quantitative analytical thinking" but I don't even think that this really follows either.



Philosophy is bullsh*t. It is the tossing of word salad with a lack of precision thrown in as a dressing.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Conceptual thinking vs Analytical thinking Reply with quote

ruveyn wrote:
Awesomelyglorious wrote:

I don't think that abstraction really leads to real conceptualization. There are some very mathematically gifted people who lack the ability to philosophically conceptualize things. That being said, I can understand your use of "quantitative analytical thinking" but I don't even think that this really follows either.



Philosophy is bullsh*t. It is the tossing of word salad with a lack of precision thrown in as a dressing.

ruveyn


All radical new concepts begin with philosophy bulked up with possible verifiable data. When the data indicates something interesting the philosophical speculation begins to appear as possible science. Without the data, philosophy remains, perhaps, fascinating bullshit.
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