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I have been talking about the distinction between Reductionist and Holistic methods in the sciences and especially in AI research which has been misclassified as a Reductionist discipline for sixty years. So far I have been reluctant to bring the gender based differentiation between the favored methods into the discussion but it is clearly there; and it might be a factual evolved differentiation going back to hunter-gatherer times. The Knife is the Reductionists tool. It divides larger problems into smaller ones that are easier to solve. The basket is the Holist's tool. When problems cannot be solved, Holists gather more resources. Someone with both tools is clearly best prepared since they see more solutions to every problem. In simple situations it doesn't matter but in some situations using the wrong tool prevents progress and we may not realize that's our problem, especially of we are much better knife-wielders. And yes, if your model or problem solving is dividing what exists, then zero-sum is a more likely "solution".
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Apr 12, 2011