What is heuristic reasoning?

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‘Heuristic reasoning’ refers to a type of reasoning that is not based on actual, scientific facts but, rather, on basic experience.  It may be applied to solve a problem, learn new activities, or discover new things.  The basic reason for resorting to heuristic reasoning is to come up with a quick solution or idea for a particular problem or concern.  Instead of having to go through deep thinking and the analyzing of facts and figures, heuristic reasoning may be done to speed up the problem-solving process.

One of the simplest types of heuristic reasoning is availability.  In this particular example, a problem or concerned is solved with whatever option is actually available.  When students in a school, for example, are tasked to do an instant science project, the may deal with the situation using only what’s readily available. If these students only have a couple of books that relate to their project, the tendency is to rely on these books to come up with a project in school.

Heuristic reasoning may also come in the form of generic common sense, trial and error, and the rule of thumb.  Some also refer to intuition as a form of heuristic reasoning.  All of these examples basically point out the fact that no actual facts may be present, but these ways of reasoning are still used or applied because people have an actual experience with them.  In the case of intuition, for example, one’s option to solve a problem may not be the most practical or scientific in nature, but still they are applied because of the belief that this option could also solve the problem in the quickest way possible.  With all these ways and examples, heuristic reasoning is also referred to as a ‘solution shortcut’ and gets things done quicker than usual.  Rather than waiting to get actual facts or analyze scientific options, heuristic reasoning is applied to make quick decisions on everyday concerns.

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