Conflict Management and Conflict Resolution

There seems to be rather a lot written about Conflict Management (CM) and Conflict Resolution (CR). CM is a key activity in the business world, as conflict arises both within a business between the individuals that comprise it and without a business when they compete with each other.

CM realizes the grim reality that conflict will always be with us, whereas CR at least hopes for an end of the particular disagreement. CM tries to investigate and detail how one can learn from conflict, and reduce its disruptive forces or use it to advantage. As we know, capitalism is chock-full of aggressive metaphors and ideologies.

There are several models of conflict but they mostly have two measures: assertiveness or “concern for self”, and cooperativeness or “concern for others”. The models usually place a fifth term in the middle, labeled “compromising”.

  • Low assertiveness, low cooperativeness: Avoiding
  • High assertiveness, low cooperativeness: Dominating
  • Low assertiveness, high cooperativeness: Obliging
  • High assertiveness, high cooperativeness: Integrating

It would be interesting at this time to say how this subject matter relates to the fourfold Means and Ends, since they are obviously connected and even share several of the same terms. However, I just can’t seem to inspire myself to investigate and say anything worthwhile right now.

I haven’t disentangled the history of the subject, so I’m not going to name originators or contributors just yet. I guess I really don’t like conflict and it just makes me generally tired to contemplate it, even in the abstract. I guess you can just put me in the “avoiding” pigeonhole.

Avoiding this subject has lead me to another one, that of Gregory Bateson and his schismogenesis. Perhaps the opposite of combogenesis (mentioned previously), this concept seems to be helpful in understanding conflict escalation. Would this idea help in thinking about division of cultural groups (discussed here)?

Further Reading:





The Known Knowns of Donald Rumsfeld

The stars madden, and satellites hum silently
Where no sound can awaken a sleeper. She dreams
A language which cannot trouble her, a vocabulary

Without voice. She has forgotten the ugly grammar,
The deformed sentences. She has forgotten
The irregularities of memory, the unknown knowns,

The can-no-longer-remembers, the slow impeachment
Of experience. She rises, stunned and serene,
Toward the promise of nothing.

— From Sad-faced Men, by William Logan

  • Known Knowns: what we know we know
  • Known Unknowns: what we know we don’t know
  • Unknown Unknowns: what we don’t know we don’t know
  • Unknown Knowns: what we don’t know that we know

Further Reading:

The Known Unknowns Matrix

Also see:

The Johari Window

The Quadralectics of Marten Kuilman




The Arcane Arts of Ramon Llull : the Dignities

Oh, Ramon Llull, where have you been all my life? I’m sure he’s been there all along, death now over seven hundred years in the past, just like always. His legacy seems at first glance to be quite the essence of medieval religion and scholastic philosophy, but still significantly and obscurely different to be enticing to this one. And on further examination, much more.

My schema above has little to do with his grand elaborate figures, except for listing the sixteen attributes he called “dignities”. Llull’s diagrams are full of clock-like wheels within wheels, complicated tableau, and combinatorial patterns. He wished to create a universal model to understand reality, and who wouldn’t want to discover the same? It is said that his methods are akin to an early computer science, and I’m just now starting to understand why.

The magister based the substance of his methods on his Christian faith, although he converted in midlife from Islam. Living in Barcelona, it was probably a good place to make such a change, but felt his calling was to convert others as well, so traveling he went. The methods he developed to convince others of their errors in belief were quite remarkable, as were the volume of his writing.

Like Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who lived four hundred years later and was influenced by him, Llull wished to automate reasoning. But instead of building mechanical devices, Llull built computers from paper and ink, rulers and drawing compasses, scissors and glue. And instead of numbers as the smallest tokens of his computer, he used abstractions (i.e. words) that he felt would be understood by everyone in exactly the same way.

For example, he enumerated these sixteen dignities or aspects of his Christian diety, although sometimes he used the first nine. His constructions allowed one to pose questions and then obtain answers mechanistically that would be convincing to all observers of the correctness of the result. Too bad he was ultimately stoned to death while on his missionary work, although he lived to be eighty two.

Llull’s devices remind me of some of my pitiful charts and diagrams, and make me wonder if I may either adapt some of his techniques to my own use, or be inspired to develop others. I suspect I have locked myself into limitations by my approach, or are these constraints to my advantage? It might be hard to have spinning elements, but I can envision sliding elements like Napier’s Bones, origami-style folding and pleating, and even physical constructions like linkages and abacuses.

Now a martyr within the Franciscan Order, Llull’s feast day is June 30, which I’ve now missed. I hope to remember him to repost or improve on this by next year.

Further Reading:

The memory wheel



Tanabata, V2

Soon it will be Tanabata (七夕) in Japan on July 7th.

Make a wish!

  • Orihime : Vega
  • Hikoboshi : Altair
  • Bridge of Birds : Deneb
  • Silver River : Milky Way

Further Reading:

[*10.48, *11.114]


Richard McKeon’s Aspects of Knowing, Part 3

Previously on this blog:

Each method can be associated with a discursive process: operational with debate, dialectical with dialogue, logistic with proof, and problematic with inquiry. Each method is also associated with a mode of thought which in turn has two moments and one dependency or assumption: the operational method is debate by discrimination and postulation dependent on chosen theses, the dialectical method is dialogue by assimilation and exemplification dependent on changeless models, the logistic method is proof by construction and decomposition dependent on indivisible constituents, and the problematic method is inquiry by resolution and question dependent on discoverable causes.

For this diagram, the four dependencies or assumptions are in the center, and the associated methods are adjacent to them. Filling out the outer edge are the four pairs of moments. Listed, these facets are:

  • Methods (associated discursive process): Operational (Debate), Dialectical (Dialogue), Logistic (Proof), Problematic (Inquiry)
  • Assumptions: Chosen Theses, Changeless Models, Indivisible Constituents, Discoverable Causes
  • Modes of Thought: discrimination and postulation, assimilation and exemplification, construction and decomposition, resolution and question

The second diagram comes from a chart in McKeon’s “Philosophic Semantics and Philosophic Inquiry”. Here, the four methods are in the upper left corner (Universal) and lower right corner (Particular), and four principles are in the lower left corner (Meroscopic) and upper right corner (Holoscopic). Four interpretations are in the center (the vertical pair is Ontic, and the horizontal pair is Phenomenal), and four selections are adjacent to them. Listed, these facets are:

  • Methods: Operational, Dialectical, Logistic, Problematic
  • Principles: Simple, Actional, Comprehensive, Reflexive
  • Interpretations: Existentialist, Entitative, Ontological, Essentialist
  • Selections: Knower (Types), Knowable (Matters), Knowledge (Hierarchies), Known (Kinds)

Note that the Archic Matrix of Watson and Dilworth is essentially derived from this, and even has many of the same terms. However and obviously, the sixteen-fold arrangements of the two diagrams are different.

Further Reading:

[*5.184, *5.185, *6.20, *11.102, *11.106]