Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


OODA loops and Hermeneutics

The US Colonel John Boyd has devised a nice model of decisionmaking, called the OODA-loop (for Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action). It was deviced for military use and, as it often is, inevitably became a part of business syllabus as well.

In military use it is a good metaphor for how one can outrun the enemy and 'intervene in his loop', thereby deciding what he does before he does it. Using deception by dummy tanks, false radio traffic etc. are examples of this.

But as a rhetorician it is impossible not to think about the concept of hermeneutics when studying the OODA loop. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation (and I think I mentioned in this blog before but I can't find it now) and begun as a clerical discipline to interpret the bible but found its modern form with Hans-Georg Gadamer. It basically employs itself with how perception is a cycle that keeps influencing itself.

Much of what Boyd finds about the OODA loops has been described in Hermenutics. And thus it could be interesting to find out if the two areas could be combined by someone with a lot of time on their hands.

One of the most interesting aspects by my first glance is that OODA and military thinking is very focused on effect which can be likened to Aristotelian rhetoric, whereas some of the newer rhetoric is focusing on audience.


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