VERTICAL THINKING: BEST DOMAIN FOR SHAPING A MIND?
Horizontal thinking is often most productive when it begins from a platform of expertise in a given field, using the accumulation of knowledge and vertical thinking skills as a platform to see patterns and analogies across domains. The question is, what is the best " platform" ? here are some possibilities, broadly defined, for consideration:Physics
HistoryPhilosophy LawThe ArtsClassical Liberal Education
Each would appear to offer some distinct advantages in terms of inculcating cognitive habits and frames of interpretation.
Mathematics offers rigor, precision in conceiving problems and at a certain level, the capacity to construct algorithmic models. Philosophy directs out attention toward our own epistemology, metaphysics and logical reasoning. History offers the largest collection of reference points and a methodology for establishing causation. Physics promotes a comprehension of the operation of massively complex systems, cause and effect and almost as much rigor as mathematics. The Law teaches the use logic, evidentiary consistency and accelerated, extemporaneous reasoning. The Arts require the type of intuitive, nonverbal, pattern recognittion and synthesizing thinking that are conistent with good horizontal thought. Liberal education partakes of all of these to some extent and imparts skepticism in the student.
While I naturally incline toward history my respect for the arts and physics stand very high. If I had to go back in time, I can say I'd take far more physics the second time around. Where do you stand ?