Better Thinking in a Global World: Paying Homage to Roy Bhaskar

In this paper of 2011, I explain why the dominance of purely logical thinking is pernicious in its effect on life and work, including political life, since it has over the last 200 years become a discipline of control and thus no longer serves the purposes of enlightenment and understanding. I therefore propose to society members to learn a more complex kind of thinking to which I variously refer as ‘transformational’, ‘deep’, and ‘dialectical’. (A manual for this kind of thinking, called the ‘dialectical thought form manual’, is found at under Publications.)

The paper was written under the influence of Roy Bhaskar’s work (which I was privileged to get to know in 2006): ‘Dialectic: The pulse of freedom’ (Verso 1993).

Lamentably, while Roy’s work has been adopted ‘wholesale’ by the integral community, his extraordinary work on dialectic has not been taken up since this community prefers to engage with purely logical thinking despite its pretending otherwise. The integral community privileges Bhaskar’s visionary work on what he called the ‘ARA’ moments of dialectic to his work on ‘MELD’, the four moments of dialectic proper on which ARA is based. Bhaskar himself would have said that one cannot deal with ARA moments before one has understood MELD moments of dialectic, but this truth remains unacknowledged in the integral community; it would be offensive to Bhaskar.

A sad outcome!

In light of this distortion of Bhaskar’s work in the integral community, I here republish my paper on better thinking together with a paper on how Bhaskar deepened the concept of cognitive development (published in ILR, the International Leadership Review, thanks to Russ Volckmann).

Better Thinking in a Global World

How Bhaskar deepened the notion of adult cognition

In this paper I show how, by cogently analyzing fallacies of logical thinking, Roy Bhaskar threw open the door to a new kind of cognitive science that so far has not been taken up.

In a modest way, I have begun such research by making developmental assessments of individuals based on DTF, the Dialectical Thought Form Framework, starting in 2005. However, it will take more than a single researcher to accumulate the empirical findings that can put dialectical thinking on the map for social scientists and philosophers to work with.

In the meantime, together with Jan De Visch, Brussels, Belgium, I am showing how DTF tools empower senior managers to build ‘enabling environments’ for strengthening self organization and collaborative intelligence in teams, in social media, and collective intelligence in society.

See the introduction to our book Dynamic Collaboration: Strengthening Self Organization and Collaborative Intelligence in Teams at The book will be launched In early June of 2018. It refines many basic insights of Elliott Jaques, the first scholar-practitioner who believed that management could become a science and sketched the details of that science.

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