I see both sides in everything. What would one call this type of thinking?

  • 2
    Ahh, but do you see all sides? :-)
    – Jim
    Dec 28 '17 at 5:25
  • Jim is right - discussions are often presented as false dichotomies. If you mean you listen to all sides of an argument, weigh up the evidence and make a decision based on the facts presented, then that is rational thinking. If you go through that process and still see both sides in everything, you are probably just indecisive :-)
    – JonLarby
    Dec 28 '17 at 11:55
  • To see from all sides and both sides in everything are similar but it's a bit different in reality. What @JohnLarby presented is seeing from all sides (and probably also listen to it, and thinking about it rationally), but if it is what OP means, then my answer is incorrect :D. What I perceived is like comparing black/white - correct/incorrect - guilty/innocent that in both sides, you also analyze the arguments, compare facts and evidence to make a decision.
    – Flonne
    Dec 30 '17 at 11:23
  • Integrative thinking? Feb 19 '19 at 4:31

how about this word: bilateral thinking?



When something is bilateral it has two sides or it affects both sides of something. Discussions between two political parties are called bilateral because both sides get to share their views.

Bilateral comes from Latin: bi means "two" and lateralis means "belonging to the side." Debates about issues can be described as bilateral — as long as people on both sides get to speak. However, bilateral can describe anything with two sides, like some of the organs in the body: the brain, heart and lungs all have two distinct sides.

Harvard Business Review


According to HBR (Harvard Business Review) titled "Business Design: Becoming a Bilateral Thinker: A Case Study" by Heather Fraser, the emerging discipline of Business Design requires a particular combination of mindsets, methods and thinking skills that exercise the 'whole brain' and help develop a well-rounded capacity for agile thinking and adaptive doing. She explains how a combination of the right mindset (being) and a rigorous methodology (doing) unlock a person's thinking and describes six skills under each of the three headings (being/doing/thinking) that foster bilateral thinking and create a platform for enterprise success.

If you strictly just want both sides of each spectrum (for example: positive vs negative; white vs black), this word will fit perfectly.


Oxford Online Dictionary

1.Having or relating to two sides; affecting both sides. For example: ‘Examine his nose for any obstruction, such as polyps or septal deviation, and whether unilateral or bilateral.’

2.Involving two parties, especially countries.(this is what is commonly used). Example: ‘the bilateral agreements with Japan’


Notes: If we can have bilateral agreement on countries, how about we promote bilateral thinking in terms of everything?

  • The HBR article doesn't seem to be talking about seeing both sides of the issue, but using both sides of the brain. It's a different kind of bilateralism than the OP is asking about.
    – Barmar
    Dec 29 '17 at 20:10
  • Hmm, let me dig deeper, it really depends on what OP means. In the paper, it fosters bilateral thinking which comprises a particular combination of mindsets, methods and thinking skills. Since we usually gravitate more on one type of thinking (and that, of course, uses up one or more compartment(s) of our brain), this paper promote the bilateral thinking in a context of a business design which considers many things from both sides of brains. Let's hear what the OP means by seeing both sides in everything (need more elaboration and examples)
    – Flonne
    Dec 30 '17 at 11:47

There are several suggestions here that could help you, and that revolve more around the idea of critical thinking.

Seeing both sides of an argument or issue is great--as long as there are only two sides!

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