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Thinking In Fundamentals

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Thinking in fundamentals is essential to assessing a problem, issue, or any such thing that comes to our attention. So, how does one learn to think in fundamentals? Does it merely happen with practice? Do you have a certain set of questions that you ask yourself before starting to assess the problem, such as "what are the fundamentals of this?"

Much appreciated.

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When I'm trying to think things out, I don't have any set of explicit and verbalized questions I put to myself.

One is trying to answer "what is this?" If the thing is something routine, there's little thinking to be done: it is an XYZ. So, the assumption here is that whatever we're thinking about is not routine. In that case, the implicit questions in my mind would be: "what is it most like?" (could be like ABC in some ways, and also like LMN in others) and "in what way is it different form those other things?" In parallel, one is also asking: "What aspects of this are incidental and non-essential; what aspects can I set aside for the moment?" Sometimes, one does this by trying to construct a very simplified mental example and thinking about that hypothetical.

I'd be interested if others have a more explicit, verbalized and standardized way of putting questions to themselves, and if they find it helpful.

Edited by softwareNerd
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You want to think in essentials, and you find essentials by finding fundamentals. The distinction between the terms is the difference between a method the facts, epistemology vs. metaphysics.

Fundamentality has a broad meaning: multiple relationships are possible - causes, underlies, makes possible, relation of an attribute to its exercise, leads to deductively; a cause which is necessary but not necessary and sufficient.

Post 5 in this thread: Notes on "Art of Thinking" by Dr. Leonard Peikoff covers Lecture III "Thought as Integration - Thinking in Essentials".

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  • 5 months later...

Thinking in fundamentals is just thinking towards the trunk of the tree representing the hierarchy of knowledge. When we think about man and values, we go back to man's being a living thing. When we think about political structure, we go back to man's being a thinking being.

-- Mindy

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