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Because all new knowledge, to be not illogical, must obey logic i.e. every thinking step must be consistent with rules of logic; so can we write an effective procedure/algorithm which may be followed to treat known knowledge to produce new groundbreaking results?

Equivalently, can we define ingenuity?

Can we formalize ideal thinking process? Will this formalization guarantee best possible thinking procedure (best in terms of ability to produce/discover new knowledge)?

Answers to this question are expected to throw light on nature of unknown (but true and existing) knowledge (scientific and non-scientific) and its accessibility.

  • Perhaps your question could be better expressed as "How can we refine thinking?" ...or perhaps, "What irreducible functions constitute thinking?" – elliot svensson Jan 14 at 21:25
  • @elliotsvensson That is the first question. Will defining the 'refining process' help? – Ajax Jan 14 at 21:29
  • I'm hoping for a restatement of the title question so that it's more likely for you to get, "what's the algorithm" -type answers instead of "you can't define yourself" -type answers. – elliot svensson Jan 14 at 21:47
  • Are you asking about the P vs NP problem? – Richard Jan 14 at 21:59
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    @Ajax read about Turing and the P vs NP problem. He tried to establish whether any arbitrary piece of code would error or not... It sounds like what you're asking. – Richard Jan 14 at 22:27
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For a definition for ingenuity, look no further than the etymology: engines!

An engine is something that earns a profit physically--- taking one resource that's abundant and converting it to another resource that's scarce.

Have your algorithm get busy calculating the abundance and utility of each conceivable resource, and give it enough information to think of which conversions between resources can be done.

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In his book Thought, Gilbert Harman writes:

As Aristotle pointed out, mental states and processes are to be functionally defined.

Perhaps after half-a-decade of teaching, Harman retired from attempting to fully define such thorny things as thought, before retiring entirely.

  • Functionally, Harman has much to say about induction, deduction, inference to the best explanation, knowledge, etc. – elliot svensson Jan 14 at 21:26

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