What is Heuristic?

Nowadays the main usages of the word ‘Heuristic’ is mostly in adjective in the sense of “guiding discovery” or “improving problem solving.” There might also be a silently negative meaning attached to it of a less than a perfect method or lack of solution guarantee. The modern picture of a search of solution, which might be intelligently directed but still has its inherent uncertainly, leads to its origin an ancient Greece here the verb “Heuriskein” means to find. In the history of science we find attempt to formulate methods for finding proofs and for arriving new discoveries. They belong to what sometimes called the art of discoveries or later a heuristic.

Heuristics, a Greek word meaning aiding or guiding discovery or external criticism is used to find out the authenticity of the document. Before examining the content of the documents, we have to make our slaves quite sure that the document itself, which has fallen into our hands, is a genuine one. Our operation starts with integrations. Is it what I am told it is? These are the questions the historian should ask himself, and find answers. He has to repeat this questions every time he finds new trace, a new piece of information or new document to answer this question systematically is to settle the matter of authenticity. This process is called external criticism where the job is preparatory to the main function of higher criticism. Heuristics checks the credentials just as a newly appointed ambassador has first to present his credentials and establish his bonafide appointment. Likewise, a historian makes sure that a counterfeit spurious or fake document has not fallen into his hands. The necessity to screen the record a rises over to the nature of historical records: some of them are beneficial in nature like a government grant of land to an individual or family and institution or a temple.

In the general creativity literature, there appears to be little distinction made between the terms problem solving technique, problem solving strategy, and heuristic. For example, Halpern (2003) defined heuristic to be an overall, rule-of-thumb strategy, technique, or process that is used to solve problems and to make decisions. That may seem broad, but heuristic is actually far more than this. To be sure, heuristic is a process or a method “serving to discover” but it also refers to the study of the methods and rules of discovery and invention and creative problem solving. “Heuristic aims at generality, at the study of procedures which are independent of the subject matter and apply to all sorts of problems”. Furthermore, for Pólya at least, heuristic is a pedagogical model, that is, it is a conceptual framework for teaching and learning.

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