, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp 361–392 | Cite as

How we make discoveries

  • Tyrone Lai


In trying to make discoveries, we are trying to uncover knowledge of HIDDEN realities. It appears impossible to uncover knowledge of hidden realities. How can we evaluate results? (How can we find out whether they are true or even good approximation when we cannot compare them to the hidden realities?) But we are often able to do things which appear impossible; it depends on whether we have chanced onto, or discovered, or invented, the relevant OPERATING PRINCIPLES. It appeared impossible to fly to the moon in one lifetime. We discovered the principle of the rocket. If we can discover the operating principle for making discoveries, we know how we make discoveries. In this paper, I show step by step how we can discover this operating principle.


Operating Principle Relevant Operating Hide Reality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brumbaugh, R. S.: 1978,The Most Mysterious Manuscript: the Voynich ‘Roger Bacon’ Cipher Manuscript, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.Google Scholar
  2. Hanson, N. R.: 1969,Patterns of Discovery, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Hattiangadi, J. N.: 1983, ‘To Save Fallibilism’,Mind 92, 407–409.Google Scholar
  4. Kahn, D.: 1967,The Codebreakers, Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Kuhn, T.: 1970,The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Lai, T.: 1983, ‘Why Experiments?’, Abstracts, 7th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
  7. Lai, T.: 1984, ‘The Philosophical Importance of “Technically Good” Experiments’,British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35, 156–59.Google Scholar
  8. Lai, T.: 1986, ‘Creativity in Experimental Science’, in Diana MacIntyre DeLuca (ed.),Essays on Creativity and Science, Hawaii Council of Teachers of English, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  9. Lai, T.: 1988, ‘Empirical Tests are Only Auxiliary Devices’,British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
  10. Popper, K.: 1968,The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 2nd edition, Harper Torchbooks, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Zim, H. S.: 1971,Codes and Secret Writing, Pan Books, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tyrone Lai
    • 1
  1. 1.Memorial University of NewfoundlandCanada

Personalised recommendations