Activity One
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Read through the table below and consider how different types of thinking are reflected in different styles of writing. How do these types and styles relate to your own area of study?


Table 1 Kinds of thinking
Kind of Thinking Activity Example
Thinking as opining forming a view or opinion “I think this government lacks clear policy direction”.
Thinking as representing describing a thing, condition or state of affairs Novelistic prose: “The character of Istanbul derives from a thousand disparate, non-evident details…” (Bowles 1963, 85)
Thinking as reasoning Using logic to build a chain of premises leading to a conclusion Wherever there is smoke, there is fire.
There is smoke on the mountain.
Therefore, there is a fire on the mountain.
Thinking as problem-solving Applying logic in a practical situation to achieve a desired outcome How to increase government income tax receipts without supressing economic activity?
Thinking as conceiving

Imagining;  conceptualizing one thing in terms of another

The metaphor of ‘the big bang’, as explaining the origins of the universe.
Thinking as understanding the particular in terms of the universal. Evaluating, classifying “This plant is probably a eucalypt because it has many characteristics of plants in the eucalyptus genus.”
Thinking as revealing what is concealed. showing what is ‘hidden from view’ Poetry: Secretly into the sky; the dreamer is coming, night.(Hölderlin 1972, 37)
Thinking as reflecting. Mentally re-examining an event, process or experience “After reading more, I realized that I could have modified my approach to include a broader range of views on the topic.”
 

The above are designated as kinds of thinking, described by a range of verbs (‘forming’, ‘representing’, ‘reasoning’, ‘problem-solving’, ‘reflecting’) which entail different kinds of activity.  From these examples it is clear that thinking is not just ‘abstract’ – it is a form of practice, and this practice has effects in the material world. From the table above, it is also clear that ‘thinking’ is indeed a multi-dimensional cognitive (and therefore ‘bodily’) process taking a range of forms designed to satisfy specific aims and objectives. For example, solving a problem in a practical situation is quite different to building a reasoned argument in an essay – and yet, clearly, there are aspects of thinking which are common to both of these processes. These aspects are sometimes referred to as ‘logic’, the use of which implies a quite different process to representing or conceptualizing an idea.


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