Problem

What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied. ~ Allen Newell and Herbert Simon
Here's how to look at problems: Problems are guidelines, not stop signs! ~ Robert H. Schuller

A problem is a doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution, or something hard to understand, accomplish or deal with.

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  • A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.
  • It is only insofar as some sort of order arises as a result of individual action but without being designed by any individual that a problem is raised which demands a theoretical explanation.
    • Friedrich Hayek (1979) The Counter-Revolution of Science : Studies on the Abuse of Reason
  • To think out a problem is not unlike drawing a caricature. You have to exaggerate the salient point and leave out that which is not typical. "To illustrate a principle," says Bagehot, "you must exaggerate much and you must omit much." As to the quantity of absolute truth in a thought: it seems to me the more comprehensive and unobjectionable a thought becomes, the more clumsy and unexciting it gets. I like half-truths of a certain kind — they are interesting and they stimulate.
  • Basic human problems can have no final solutions.
  • What makes a problem a problem is not that a large amount of search is required for its solution, but that a large amount would be required if a requisite level of intelligence were not applied.
    • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, (1975) Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search. Turing Award Lecture. p. 122
  • Here's how to look at problems: Problems are guidelines, not stop signs!
    • Robert H. Schuller, Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking (1967), p. 90 in the 1986 reprint
    • Widely attributed in paraphrase: "Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines."

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Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 10:17