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WHAT IS THINKING STYLE?


"Style, it might be said, is operation dammed up in opera, formation in form,
process in product, way of doing in the thing done.*"

Horace Kallen

This word "style" has an interesting origin. It developed out of the Latin term "stilus" which refers to an instrument made of "metal, bone (or other such substance) that had one end sharp-pointed for incising letters on a wax tablet and end one broad for smoothing the tablet and erasing what is written." Today, this original Latin meaning applies to certain types of engraving tools.

Later, still in the Latin, the word grew to also mean "writing and manner of writing" as well as manner of speaking. Thus the tool for writing came to also mean the manner in which the writing is done. This sense of the word "style" is expressed today whenever someone refers to a writer's "literary style." Such references have to do with the form and expression of an idea, rather than to the substance of the idea (to what is thought about). When we refer to a writer's style or to a particular style of writing (or speaking), such as formal, journalistic, personal, and so onů, we are using the above sense of this word.

Style, as primarily used today, derives from the third and later meanings of the word, "manner, fashion." The meaning of the word "style" thus came to be generalized from its application in writing to almost all areas of human endeavor.

Style, when used as a marker of fashion refers to such diverse things as architecture, art, and fashion. In this sense, a style is "a kind, sort, or type as determined by composition, construction or outward appearance." Thus, paintings of real scenes but with fuzzy boundaries all fit into the impressionist style of painting; churches with soaring steeples, the gothic style of architecture; tailored tweeds, the classic style of dress fashion. In each of these categories, style is determined by observation of the result or an analysis of the content or type of construction. This sense of the word is dependent upon a description and categorization of products, ends, or objects as the basis for determination of style.

There is, however, another sense of the word, style, which, although it also refers to manner or fashion, refers to the manner or fashion of doing something, rather than the qualities of the thing that has been done. Thus, in this sense of the word, we would consider the manner in which the cathedral is built rather than the style of the cathedral, or the fashioning of the style rather than the style of the fashion.

Relational Thinking Styles theory addresses style in this latter sense of a "manner" of doing something as opposed to the type of thing that is done. Thus, for our purposes, style is " a particular mode or form of skilled construction, execution or production."
Within this system of style (as, indeed, in life itself) the ends and the means for reaching the ends are inexorably bound to one another. For "style" is the manner in

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