Problem solving has been empirical psychology’s concern for half a century. Cognitive science’s work on this field has been stimulated especially by the computational theory of mind. As a result, most experimental research originates from a mechanistic approach that disregards genuine experience. On the occasion of a review of problem solving’s foundation, a phenomenological description offers fruitful perspectives. Yet, the mechanistic paradigm is currently dominant throughout problem solving’s established patterns of description. The review starts with a critical historical analysis of the state of problem solving in academic psychology. Subsequently, a phenomenological, contrastive approach is proposed. It questions the notion of problems as “goal-driven” behavior by making vivid experience the subject of discussion. As its given compounds, solvability, oppressiveness, and the problem’s horizon are discussed. Ultimately, an experience-based multimodal notion of the problem is elaborated that relates problems to challenges, fatalities and opportunities as different types of situations.
FunkeJ. (2014). Problem solving: What are the important questions?; in: P.BelloM.GuariniM.McShaneB.Scassellati (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 493–498). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
MacGregorJ. N.OrmerodT. C.ChronicleE. P. (2001). Information processing and insight: A process model of performance on the nine-dot and related problems. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition27 (1) 176–249.