Heroic theory of invention and scientific development
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The heroic theory of invention and scientific development is the view that the principal authors of inventions and scientific discoveries are unique heroic individuals—i.e., "great scientists" or "geniuses".
A competing hypothesis (that of multiple discovery) is that most inventions and scientific discoveries are made independently and simultaneously by multiple inventors and scientists.
The multiple-discovery hypothesis may be most patently exemplified in the evolution of mathematics, since mathematical knowledge is highly unified and any advances need, as a general rule, to be built from previously established results through a process of deduction. Thus, the development of infinitesimal calculus into a systematic discipline did not occur until the development of analytic geometry, the former being credited to both Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, and the latter to both René Descartes and Pierre de Fermat.
- Great man theory
- Hive mind
- List of multiple discoveries
- Multiple discovery
- People known as the father or mother of something
- Scientific priority
- Scientific theory
- Discovery and invention controversies
- Epstein, Ralph C. 1926. "Industrial Invention: Heroic, or Systematic?" The Quarterly Journal of Economics 40(2):232–72. JSTOR 1884619. doi:10.2307/1884619.
- Johansson, Frans. 2004. The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation. US: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 1-4221-0282-3.
- Merton, Robert K. 1957. "Priorities in Scientific Discovery: A Chapter in the Sociology of Science." American Sociological Review 22(6):635–59. JSTOR 2089193. doi:10.2307/2089193.
- —— 1961. "Singletons and Multiples in Scientific Discovery: A Chapter in the Sociology of Science." Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 105(5):470–86. JSTOR 985546
- Shireman, William K. 1999. "Business strategies for sustainable profits: systems thinking in practice." Systems Research and Behavioral Science 16(5):453–62. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1743(199909/10)16:5<453::AID-SRES336>3.0.CO;2-9.
- Turney, Peter. 15 January 2007. "The Heroic Theory of Scientific Development." Apperceptual.