Are there philosophical essays dedicated towards discovery in humanity?

  • 1
    "the philosophy of science" – user6917 Jan 13 '15 at 11:16
  • 1
    there is no field i know of that deals with "discovery", as in both science and progress in general. maybe hegel? anyway, a few of the continentals talk about the term, differentiate it from invention etc.. so you may try derrida ? – user6917 Jan 13 '15 at 11:20
  • but anyway, please tell us more about what you think so far ? – user6917 Jan 13 '15 at 11:54
  • 2
    You can see Jacques Hadamard, The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field (1945). – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jan 13 '15 at 12:27
  • Also, if you consider creativity to be a form of discovery, then there's also artistic creativity to consider. – R. Barzell Jan 13 '15 at 13:36

The first philosophical book that comes to mind with that topic is The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

  • Kuhn was badly wrong about many issues, see the criticisms by Popper and Watkins in "Criticism and the growth of knowledge" edited by Lakatos and Musgrave. – alanf Jan 14 '15 at 15:09
  • The original poster didn't ask if he was right or not. – Chris Sunami Jan 14 '15 at 17:21
  • My point is that your answer is wrong since Kuhn's ideas do not explain discovery, not that the questioner is wrong. – alanf Jan 15 '15 at 9:27
  • The OP's question is which philosophical writings have taken the topic of discovery as a primary subject, and Kuhn's work definitely qualifies. Your opinion that Kuhn misunderstands his own subject is irrelevant. When someone asks for a list of writings on a topic, it is not expected that he or she will agree with each one. Nor is our role on this site to promote (or debunk) a particular philosophical point of view. – Chris Sunami Jan 15 '15 at 14:49

The branch of philosophy about the creation of knowledge is called epistemology. Most books about epistemology concentrate on philosophy of science. There are some non-negligible reasons for this, such as the fact that there are more explicit arguments in science and more clear successes.

Karl Popper looked at the creation of knowledge in general and explained the creation of both scientific and non-scientific knowledge. He explained that knowledge is created by noticing problems with current knowledge, proposing solutions to the problems, criticising the proposals until only one is left and is has no known criticisms, then looking for a new problem. Popper applied his theory to many topics, including science, political philosophy and music. See "Realism and the Aim of Science", "Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach", "The Open Society and its Enemies" and "Unended Quest" by Karl Popper.

David Deutsch has made some improvements to Popper's ideas, including integrating it with the theory of memes, see "The Beginning of Infinity".

  • i voted down cos i found the answer a little misleading in its certainty – user6917 Jan 15 '15 at 2:24
  • Where does the answer say anything about certainty? – alanf Jan 15 '15 at 9:26
  • "he explained".,, – user6917 Jan 15 '15 at 10:10
  • That's a factual claim. I am either right or wrong and my subjective feeling of certainty is not mentioned and is totally irrelevant to any substantive issue. – alanf Jan 15 '15 at 14:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.