“Analytical” vs. “Synthetic” thinking

Here, Dr. Ackoff:

  • distinguishes between gaining knowledge vs. understanding
  • compares and contrasts 3 steps of “synthetic thinking” with “analytical thinking” (analysis)
  • states that an “essential property of a system is that it cannot be divided into independent parts”

A key takeaway is that a system is not (equal to) the sum of its parts, but a product of the interactions of the parts.

 

Step  

Analytical Thinking 

 

 

Synthetic Thinking

 

1 What are the parts of this? What is this a part of?
2 What is the behavior of each part separately? What is the behavior of the whole?
3 Agrregate understanding of the parts into understanding of the whole Disaggregate whole by understanding part/whole function

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