Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (3):391-409 (2017)

Jeffrey Yoshimi
University of California, Merced
_ Source: _Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 391 - 409 The author outlines a provisional phenomenology of problem solving. He begins by reviewing the history of problem-solving psychology, focusing on the Gestalt approach, which emphasizes the influence of prior knowledge and the occurrence of sudden insights. He then describes problem solving as a process unfolding in a field of consciousness against a background of unconscious knowledge, which encodes action patterns, schemata, and affordances. A global feeling of wrongness or tension is resolved by a series of field transitions, which are guided by peripheral experiences of coherence or “rightness.” The author treats the distinction between reproductive thought and productive thought as a difference in field structure. With reproductive thoughts and actions we perform operations to solve a problem in a semi-automatic sequence. In productive thought, by contrast, a kind of parallel search occurs. This may explain the otherwise obscure phenomenology of struggling to break an impasse.
Keywords Edmund Husserl   Gestalt psychology   Max Wertheimer   Otto Selz   William James   insight   phenomenology   problem solving  Aron Gurwitsch
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DOI 10.1163/18756735-09403006
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The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.
What Computers Can't Do.H. Dreyfus - 1976 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):177-185.

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Studies in Phenomenology and Psychology.Aron Gurwitsch - 1966 - Northwestern University Press.
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