Sunday, September 27, 2009

Imagination in Science

I believe that scientists tap into the transcendental force for inspiration much like artists, musicians, writers and mystics.

In Approaches to Social Enquiry, Blaikie quotes, "The transition from data to theory requires creative imagination. Scientific hypotheses and theories are not derived from observed facts, but invented in order to account for them."

And, "...there can be no set of rules given for the procedure of scientific discovery - a hypothesis is not produced by a deductive machine by feeding experimental observations into it: It is a product of creative imagination, of a mind which absorbs the experimental data until it sees them fall into a pattern, giving the scientific theorist the sense that he [sic] is penetrating beneath the flux of phenomena to the real structure of nature."

And, "...every discovery contains an 'irrational element' or a 'creative intuition' "

And, "Hesse...stressed the role of creative imagination, as well as logic, in the process of scientific discovery."

And, "In all these cases, because causal structures and/or mechanisms had never been observed, it was necessary first to imagine what they might be like, and then to formulate these ideas into some image or model."

Also, in describing the deductive process used by a clinician, Blaikie quotes: "Here there is a rapid reciprocation between an imaginative and critical process."

Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling Upon Happiness notes that imagination is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

I see a lovely pattern here.

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