Theseus works by making thinking visible, and the dynamic logic behind that thinking transparent. Take a look:
See the little triangles? Each one represents a question--the question that it makes sense to ask at that point in the thought process. (The different colors represent questions of different types.) For example, the yellow triangle to the immediate right of the purple "trunk" box represents the question "How does Theseus work?" The boxes to the right of the triangle contain elements that help to answer that question. A linked set of questions and answers make up what we call a "thought tree."
A good thought tree maps out a kind of dialogue: questions lead to answers, and answers raise further questions. Effective thinking, it turns out, has precisely this structure. In fact, thinking is nothing more than a disciplined process of:
An amazing thing happens when you work with thought trees: you actually begin thinking more deeply and effectively. Why does this happen? Well, explicit prompts and subtle visual cues reinforce the "rules" of effective reasoning. The mental muscles that support clear, focused dialogue grow stronger, and the habits of mind that make for sound judgment get internalized. The only better way to develop strong thinking skills is to engage others in critical dialogue!
When you create a good thought tree, you also do useful work. Your aptitude grows, but you simultaneously organize information and create a useful thought structure--a diagram that converts easily into a detailed, logically structured outline. Use Theseus to organize your thoughts, and you can have fun, complete your writing assignments, and expand your abilities--all at the same time!
2. Shaffer,1982;Jonasen et al,1980
3. U.S. Army,1977
4. Ethicon, 1997
5. Fein & Patten, 1989
6. Streit, et al, 1986
7. Horn, 2002
10. County of San Diego, 1995