Creativity in Science - Chance, Logic, Genius, and Zeitgeist
Dean Keith Simonton
Cambridge University Press
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.
Hardback 232 pp, 11diags, 3 tabs ISBN 9780521835794
Softback 232 pp, 11diags, 3 tabs ISBN 9780521543699
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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