Is There a Logic of Discovery?

Is there a logic of discovery? Everybody has an opinion on this topic and nobody has been able to proof what the correct point of view is. A little research shows that there has been a long debate on this question among philosophers of science. People like Francis Bacon, John Stuart Mill and Hans Reichenbach answer “yes”, but no less important characters, such as William Whewell, Albert Einstein, Carl Hempel, and Sir Karl Poppel have a strong belief that the correct answer is “no”. But before getting deeper into this question let’s take a closer look to some views and the history of the methodology, which of course resulted in new views. To conclude the whole report some discussion points concerning the subject will be given.

There are many views on the subject of discovery and creativity. One of these views state that discovery and creativity are linked to the end product and not so much on the process gone through to get there. There is also a strong stress on success. Some other views state that there is a large stress on geniality and originality, you should think out-of-the-box or lateral, break the rules. There is also a fascination for the creative moment, which is the moment on which everything happens, specified in an earlier lecture as the “aha” moment. Of course there are many more views but due to space limitations these are not given here.

The methodology, meaning the study of the scientific methods, can be divided into three periods, each one showing some minor differences with the preceding ones. In the first period, ranging from the 17th to the 19th century, there was a belief in a unique procedure, a unique scientific method to come to discovery. The method to be used was both a method for discovery and for justification. There was a strong belief in algorithm for discover, meaning that it was all about applying the right procedure, the right methodical method and no geniality was involved. With the change of belief from “logic of discovery”...