Discussion: Learning from Chess about Thinking (What is a good idea?)
this is a new idea of mine that I don't understand well yet:
The value of a position in chess consists of its probability of victory for the player. Moves are evaluated according to how they affect this probability of victory.
We can apply this to our thinking: knowledge-based value creation consists of enriching data, information, and pre-existing knowledge with value-giving properties. Value-giving properties include: Accuracy/Completeness, Reliability, and Usefulness.
An evaluation of thinking would look like this:1
|!!||Brilliant||Best idea, not easy to find|
|!||Great||Thought changes the course of the debate|
|Best move||Theoretically best thought|
|Excellent||Almost as good as best thought|
|?!||Inaccuracy||A bad thought|
|?||Error||Directly worsens the position|
|??||Blunder||Very bad thought|
|loss of value, loss of ability, loss of character|
I always remember a discussion between Prof. Beckermann and Prof. Carrier (two of the high royalties of the university of Bielefeld, yes I created a heraldry table for my faculty back then) which started by them just barking bullet points at each other. It was just like a chess opening, which is fairly researched, and most moves are known in their effect and values. In philosophy, there are typical moves as well. A debate on the freedom of will almost certainly will hit distinct positions and moves like soft vs hard determinism etc.
An example of a blunder is: Mentioning an exception as an objection to a rule, like stating that there are horses with three legs, to object to a concept of a horse that includes horses having four legs. It is a blunder because you don't challenge the rule by an exception. To me, it is a big blunder, since it even undermines the ability of the participants to establish common ground.
This idea is still in the ruminating stage. So, I mostly collect claims, isolated connections to other ideas, anecdotes, examples and stuff like that.
It is an idea that I often ruminate, since I feel that this could be some basis for a training method for correct (consistent, coherent, cohesive) thinking. I am often inspired by a particular paper on training in Science and Engineering.2 At first, it gave me a framework on how to think about problem-solving. But I feel that there is way more hidden. My guess is that there is something that could reaminate Logical Positivism. I'd exchange the strict and inflexible premise of deductive reasoning with the more flexible assumption that there are good and bad strategies and tactics in thinking which increase or decrease the probability of value-creation. Then, it is not any longer the goal of proving something right or wrong, since both are too far in the future. The goal is to develop tactics and strategy similar that improve your position.
The core of the idea is not new or revolutionary at all. But still, I have the strong intuition that using chess as a metaphor and building a model similar to chess theory is a treasure chest hidden on an island.
What do you think?
The evaluation of thought is worded to be expressed in a fictional debate. ↩︎
Argenta M. Price, Candice J. Kim, Eric W. Burkholder, Amy V. Fritz, and Carl E. Wieman (2021): A Detailed Characterization of the Expert Problem-Solving Process in Science and Engineering: Guidance for Teaching and Assessment, CBE---Life Sciences Education 3, 2021, Vol. 20, S. ar43. ↩︎
I am a Zettler
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