If “careful” statistical analysis requires considering a ‘sufficient’ number of variables – perhaps a big, aleph lot of them – then a “not so careful” analysis could be gleaned from considering just two of them. That’s the territory that Lowy & Hood stake out in their book, The Power of the 2×2 Matrix.

A 2×2 matrix is a minimal set for figuring, if this goes here, then that goes there. No side conditions, additionally considered constraints – just A and B, do this then that happens. Which is precisely what many of us would call “having an intuitive sense” of what’s going on. Seductive, and it works until it doesn’t, but not a wild and crazy first step. If the complete problem space is a manifold, then intuition is the tangent space, and curvature gives us a sense of when “we’ll get stupid”.

Net-net: ‘intuition’ is a viable / necessary evaluative step for understanding what we “understand” about a problem. Not always right, always ‘interesting’, and quite often, enough to drive by.

]]>Best to you in the months ahead.

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