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Fundamental thinking methods & learning anything

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What is the relationship between good philosophy (specifically, a highly integrated, habituated correct epistemology) and excelling in other fields?

In my current context of knowledge, the fundamental methods of thinking are:

(1) Purpose: this provides a standard by which to judge the value & relevance of all other thoughts and questions.
(2) Logic: this includes reduction back to the perceptual level or ‘fundamentals’ (similar to Elon Musk’s need to reduce everything to ‘first principles’ and ‘back to physics’) and it also includes contextual integration as an additional way to identify contradictions.
The next two are less clear to me, but I’ll do my best:
(3) Thinking in principles: this means trying to identify what principle is operative in any given behavior, action, event.
(4) Thinking in fundamentals: this means identifying that causal factor or characteristic that is most causally significant in an entity, behavior, action, event.

Is there anything I’ve missed here?

I’m curious if anyone has found self-consciously adopting, integrating, habituating these principles significantly helpful in any other productive fields? And if you had not adopted them where do you think you’d be? How much do you think a disregard for these principles causes people to have difficulty learning in (any) field?

Are the principles less relevant to some pursuits, e.g., to learning piano or to drawing?


Edited by Jonathan Weissberg
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1) I am better able to think of why I care to do what I do. Personally, I see a large part of my professional goals as understanding and applying principles of how people think creatively in terms of psychology. It's an aspect of understanding human consciousness. It's part of a wider purpose to live my life in a flourishing way, understanding the world around me and my own mind.

3) I am better able to see the big picture. Or I am better able to see how things operate in the big picture, because I can find an underlying principle without resorting to oversimplifying or ignoring the context. I can talk about space exploration despite not knowing a great deal about rocket engineering. It's not because I have some special fast insight, but because I can find the principles either by asking questions or I can engage the parts that are important regardless of knowledge. I could talk about why people explore, the purpose of exploring, the value of it for individuals.

4) I am better able to narrow down in the details that matter. Unfortunately I can easily fall into breaking apart an idea into many pieces despite being able to start pretty good with the big picture. So, I'm actually better able to recognize when this is appropriate. If I want to understand the concept that, I break it down and ask questions about things like "what about this cookie recipe makes it so that they don't rise as much as they should?" I don't blame the recipe, I don't blame the oven, instead I look for what makes this the case. 

I didn't list 2 because I see that as an aspect of all thinking skills. I don't think it needed its own category.

I would add that it's important to make use of intuition. Your subconscious if you prefer that term. Trust that your vast web of concepts tell you something about the world, that you shouldn't reject your sudden ideas out of hand just because you don't know where they came from. Of course you should look at them, consider them, don't assume they're right, but also be willing to trust your thinking. Especially when problem-solving. The better you get at the above thinking skills, the better you will know when your intuition will help or when it will be harmful. 

I think all these principles are just as relevant to learning to draw or play piano. Although of course you are building up motor skills, but your thinking skills can help you focus on which type of actions and movements are most essential. You can recognize what's most important when drawing well. If you talk to a good artist, they don't think of just how to move their hands, they also think about how they focus their mind on the world, how they look at the world, how thinking connects to the world.

Edited by Eiuol
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