Inverse Problems

  • Mario BungeEmail author


Although to live is to face problems, the general concept of a problem has been significantly understudied. So much so, that the publication of Polya’s delightful How to Solve It (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1945) caused quite a stir. And, although the concept of a conceptual problem is philosophical because it is deep and occurs across fields, from mathematics to politics, no philosophers have produced any memorable studies of it. Moreover, the word ‘problem’ is absent from most philosophical reference works. There are plenty of texts on particular problems such as those of evil and induction, but none on the general concept of a conceptual problem—as if it were not a problematic concept. Worse, we are seldom told that doing original mathematics, science or technology is to wrestle with original problems. Nor have we been told that the hardest problems are likely to be inverse, in that they go from effect to cause, or from sketch to implementation, or from conclusion to premises—as in diagnosing disease from symptoms, looking for a westward passage from Europe to Asia, and designing public policies to attack social issues. The existence of this significant gap in the philosophical literature justifies the publication of the present study.


Problem Inverse problem Causation Presupposition Problem generator Solution 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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