March 3, 2011

« “Heuristic”, or “heuretic”, or “ars inveniendi” was the name of a certain branch of study, not very clearly circumscribed, belonging to logic, or to philosophy, or to psychology, often outlined, seldom presented in detail, and as good as forgotten today. The aim of heuristic is to study the methods and rules of discovery and invention. A few traces of such study may be found in the commentators of Euclid; a passage of Pappus is particularly interesting in this respect. The most famous attempts to build up a system of heuristic are due to Descartes and to Leibnitz, both great mathematicians and philosophers. Bernard Bolzano presented a notable detailed account of heuristic. […] Heuristic, as an adjective, means “serving to discover”. » ~ “How to solve it”, G. Polya.

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