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This paper has two purposes. One is to present a critical examination of the rise of granular computing and the other is to suggest a triarchic theory of granular computing. By examining the reasons, justifications, and motivations for the rise of granular computing, we may be able to fully appreciate its scope, goal and potential values. The results enable us to formulate a triarchic theory in the light of research results from many disciplines. The three components of the theory are labeled as the philosophy, the methodology, and the computation. The integration of the three offers a unified view of granular computing as a way of structured thinking, a method of structured problem solving, and a paradigm of structured information processing, focusing on hierarchical granular structures. The triarchic theory is an important effort in synthesizing the various theories and models of granular computing.