Heuer/De Bono -- Fallacies. L. Term Paper

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Specifically, Heuer advocated the use of tools that help the thinker to "...clearly delineate their assumptions and chains of inference," and to "specify the degree and source of the uncertainty involved in the conclusions." Thus, Heuer advocated the use of analytic debate, devil's advocate arguments, brainstorming, competition between analyses, peer review and outside "points-of-view." Edward de Bono, on the other hand, specifically emphasized the value of creativity in the development of a "new way" of thinking of problems from non-logical angles -- in effect, using the creative mind to compensate for its areas of deficiency in the logical or perceptional realm.

Unfortunately, however, there are some forms of mental "problems" or analytical fallacies that are famously resistant to even the best "tools" or creative thinking -- "learned" or no. Further, because both men consider the real issue at hand to be the problem presented by the "lenses" through which the information under analysis passes, one could suppose that even one's choice of the appropriate tool is also clouded by the very same "lens." Further, if others in the same position (for instance the "peers" utilized in the peer review, debate forums, etc.), are supposed to have much of the same perceptual baggage (much of which can be expected in peer groups of similar background), one wonders if the utility of those tools is really as great as one might suppose.

Take, for example, Heuer's concept of "Analysis of Competing Hypotheses," or ACH. In this tool, many plausible hypotheses are held up to intense scrutiny or "gauntlet of testing for compatibility with available information." In this method, each possibility is tested, leaving only the strongest to survive (which are then subjected to more testing). Although some issues may seem easily solved by this method (particularly, perhaps concerning statistical fallacies), those in which more personal points-of-view can cause the greatest interference (especially in cases that may involve propaganda or irrelevant facts (two aspects of subconscious acculturation), can cloud the tool as a process -- thereby turning the analysis issue into one that may seem more clearly defined in terms of competing hypotheses, yet actually only one that is "strung out" into issues that are still nothing more than the product of the analyst's (or group of analysts) collective cultural, social, and political lenses.

The simple fact is that most fallacies, although different in broad definition, hold much of the same origin-issues regardless of their manifestation. For instance, Red herring fallacies based on irrelevant facts, statistical fallacies, or even those based on faulty appeals to authority are only impediments to good analysis because of the faulty thinking of the analyst in question -- and in almost all cases, this faulty thinking originates in the same perceptual blocks erected as a result of acculturation, societal influences, and past experience. After all, irrelevant facts can seem quite relevant in the mind, statistical examples can seem quite representative of the population if a limited perception of the population already exists in one's mind, and one's view of "authority" can cloud perception without one ever realizing that the cloud even exists. If this is the case, no amount of learned creativity, nor application of tools (again, chosen through same "lens" that clouds analysis problem at hand), can alert one to its existence without a serious reliance on complete "outsider" opinion -- a point-of-view that is likely to be rejected.

Bibliography

Davis, Jack. 1999. The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis [online]. Available at http://www.odci.gov/search-NS-search-page=resultsPsychology of Intelligence Analysis de Bono, Edward. 2004. Lateral Thinking Workshop [online]. Available at http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/worklt.htm

Davis, Jack. 1999.

Edward de Bono Web site. "Lateral Thinking Workshop." 2004.

Davis, Jack. 1999.

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Davis, Jack. 1999. The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis [online]. Available at http://www.odci.gov/search-NS-search-page=resultsPsychology of Intelligence Analysis de Bono, Edward. 2004. Lateral Thinking Workshop [online]. Available at http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/worklt.htm

Davis, Jack. 1999.

Edward de Bono Web site. "Lateral Thinking Workshop." 2004.

Davis, Jack. 1999.

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