The process of discovery

Foundations of Science 1 (2):233-251 (1995)
This paper argues that all discoveries, if they can be viewed as autonomous learning from the environment, share a common process. This is the process of model abstraction involving four steps: act, predict, surprise, and refine, all built on top of the discoverer's innate actions, percepts, and mental constructors. The evidence for this process is based on observations on various discoveries, ranging from children playing to animal discoveries of tools, from human problem solving to scientific discovery. Details of this process can be studied with computer simulations of discovery in simulated environments.
Keywords Machine discovery  Perceptions  Actions  Heuristic search  Predictions  Theory revision
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DOI 10.1007/BF00124612
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