A Google search of this word shows no documents, so I may be able to claim credit for coining it. This is really the concept I am trying to promote. A yardstick, a way to classify arguments and trains of though. On one extreme (high dichotomaticity) would be classical DT: I am right you are wrong, we are great they suck. On the other extreme (low dichotomaticity) would be clearly goal-oriented thinking “What is the nature of the problem and how do we solve it?” My suggestion is, when thinking about any argument or train of thought, first ask “Is the degree of dichotomaticity appropriate for the situation? Is it too dichotomous?“
The abduction of 200 school girls in Nigeria is a crime by any standard. When I hear stories like this I ask, what is the thought process that leads a group to group carrying this out? What do they hope to gain? What is the problem for which, in their minds, this is a solution? Is it really promoting Allah’s will on earth? Will this really discourage Western style education in Nigeria? To me, step one is to attack the real problem which is the way they and other like them think. This is as clear an example as there is of the overuse of dichotomous thinking.
Starting to use twitter has given me some very useful insights. While I have yet to find anyone who is convinced this is a cause worth focusing on, there are people who “agree” the overuse of DT is a problem. One thing I am going to focus on is the “DT phrases” tab of this site. I think the more I can get people to use the word “dichotomous” the better.
Whatever your cause, stick with it. I am not asking you to join me. What I am asking is that when, in the course of fighting your battle, you find it useful to point out the over use of dichotomous thinking, please do so. You will not only be promoting your own cause but helping grease the wheels for all the other people fighting for all the other causes that are also hindered by the over use of dichotomous thinking.