Analytic and Creative Thinking:

Conventional descriptions of the way teachers and students learn about Science and the Humanities are under-girded by the assumption that these disciplines are cognitively exclusive. That is, what is taught by scientists falls under the vocabulary of the analytic and that what instructors of Humanities do is congruent/appropos with creative thinking. Closer analysis reveals, however, that both camps share more than they realize, and that a not-so-evident part of what it means to think like a scientist requires forms of creative thinking in the same way that analytic thinking is part of the project of thinking like an artist. A good example of this is what architects do. Inventive architects, like Buckminster Fuller, required themselves to think about the aesthetic value of a structure (e.g. a geodesic dome), as well as its alignment with geometric forms. It is for this reason that teachers should allow themselves to think in a interdisciplinary way. When students see that their imaginations are part of what it means to think like a scientist, they can also understand the precision is part of what artists do too.

– John Cleary (Associate Professor of Philosophy)