Scientific Discovery Processes in Humans and Computers: Theory and Research in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence

By Morton Wagman | Go to book overview

9
Computational Simulation of Scientific Discovery Processes

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE PROCESSES OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

THE GENERAL LOGIC OF COMPUTATIONAL THEORIES OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

The general logic of computational theories of scientific discovery includes the assumption that the creative processes of scientific discovery are knowable and definable, the assumption that they represent subsets of general strategies of problem solving, the assumption that they can be modeled by the standard heuristics of problem-solving computational systems, and the assumption that scientific discovery systems cannot only replicate discovery processes and products but also make independent and original discoveries. Each of these assumptions is now briefly discussed.

The assumption that creative and discovery processes are not unknowable or undefinable is in conflict with the prevalent and ancient belief that human creativity is mysterious and beyond the ken of science. Creativity, whether artistic, literary, musical, philosophical, mathematical, or scientific, was a gift from capricious muses; a special blessing from God; the crystallization of unconscious dynamics in a neurotic personality; an inexplicable and sudden inspiration (literally, spirit); or the intuitive insight that illumines, as if by magic, the nature of the solution to a puzzle, problem, or paradox.

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