Cluster thinking

Cluster thinking is a kind of thinking where one separates various perspectives, weighs each, then comes to a final conclusion. It contrasts with sequence thinking. It was first outlined by Holden Karnofsky in his GiveWell blog post “Sequence Thinking vs. Cluster Thinking”.

Here, “perspectives” or “models” means different ways of thinking about the problem:

[Besides an expected value calculation, w]e also have a variety of other perspectives for evaluating the action: does this action deviate greatly from “normality?” Does it deviate from what expert opinion would suggest? Does this action pattern-match (even superficially) to other successful actions or to other failed actions?1