Heuristic

A rule, tool of evaluation, or method of thinking that someone uses to solving a problem or frame an issue. From the Greek “heuriskein” which means “to discover.”

Heuristics can be anything from a simple rule of thumb (“still water is likely to be dangerous to drink”) to a pernicious stereotype (“all Jews are greedy”).

It’s best described, generally, as “a mental tool for understanding.”

Why I Looked It Up

I had an idea of what this meant, but I had always wondered about specifics. It gets used across a broad range of situations.

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