Problem-solving techniques

by iwolm
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he 4 rules contained in the method defined by Cartesio ( by Descartes ) to face and solve the problems. According to Lord Kelvin, only the expression of phenomena by numbers can grant its knowledge. Logical reasoning to take decisions, according to Pierce.
The scientific method used to solve problems, or Problem Solving, is based on accomplishment of the following 7 points that must carried out:

  1. individuation and definition of the problem
  2. collection of data and information
  3. formulation of hypothesis on the possible causes
  4. identification of the most probable cause or causes
  5. search of the solution and the most effective corrective actions
  6. realization of an action plan
  7. check of the results with the collection of monitoring data

The description of this method is reported in the category “The activities management”.
A useful guideline to face and solve problems is the method defined by Descartes and based on the following 4 rules:

  • Rule n° 1
    Never accept anything as if it were true unless you know it is obviously so.
  • Rule n° 2
    Split difficulties or problems under examination into many smaller parts or sub problems as long as it is possible and necessary in order to find a better solution.
  • Rule n° 3
    Gather your thoughts starting from the objects that are simpler and easier to know in order to rise, little by little and by degrees, and reach the knowledge of more complex problems.
  • Rule n° 4
    Enumerate everything completely and review it generally in order to be sure that nothing has been omitted.

It is useful likewise to be aware that there aren’t easy ways to solve complex problems, but with easy tricks it is possible to obtain good results:

  • Split the problem into parts or sub problems
  • Use models to present reports and solutions
  • Use written documents

Like Lord Kelvin said, only when we are able to measure what we are speaking about expressing them by numbers do we know something about it.
Otherwise, if we aren’t able to express a phenomenon by numbers it means that our knowledge is poor and unsatisfactory.
Therefore, it is fundamental to replace sensations, impressions and complaints with facts.
Each problem we face asks for decisions to be taken.
The decisions to solve problems are taken according to logical procedures.
According to Peirce the main reasoning forms are:

  • Deduction
  • Induction
  • Abduction

DEDUCTION: but – therefore

Logical process by which starting from general truth (rule) a specific, underlying rule can be drawn.

  • All beans of that bag are white rule
  • These beans come from that bag case
  • These beans are white result


INDUCTION: therefore

Logical process by which from the realization of particular facts it possible to trace statements or general rules.

  • These beans come from that bag case
  • These beans are white result
  • All the beans in that bag are white rule

(until until proof to the contrary)

ABDUCTION: but – then

Logical process that use only a limited group of elements according to which the person who decides creates the links and relations between themselves, which could also be wrong.

  • These beans are white result
  • All the beans in that bag are white rule
  • These beans come from that bag case


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