Creativity in Science - Chance, Logic, Genius, and Zeitgeist

Dean Keith Simonton 
Cambridge University Press  July 2004  

Hardback  232 pp, 11diags, 3 tabs  ISBN 9780521835794      £52.00

Softback  232 pp, 11diags, 3 tabs  ISBN 9780521543699      £20.00
Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, historians - and even scientists themselves - have often tried to decipher the basis for creativity in science. Some have attributed creativity to a special logic, the so-called scientific method, whereas others have pointed to the inspiration s of genius or to the inevitable workings of the zeitgeist. Finally, some have viewed scientific breakthroughs as the product of chance, as witnessed in the numerous episodes of serendipity. Too often these four alternative interpretations are seen as mutually exclusive. Yet the central thesis of this book is that the chance, logic, genius, and zeitgeist perspectives can be integrated into a single coherent theory of creativity in science. But for this integration to succeed, change must be elevated to the status of primary cause. Logic, genius and the zeitgeist still have significant roles to play but mainly operate insofar as they enhance, or constrain the operation of a chance combinatorial process.


Preface; 1. Introduction: scientific creativity; 2. Creative products; 3. Combinatorial processes; 4. Scientific activity; 5. Creative scientists; 6. Scientific discovery; 7. Consolidation: creativity in science; References; Index.

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Autumn 2004 : Cambridge University Press : life sciences

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