Re: Pasteur, Chance and the Prepared Mind

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Tue Jun 04 1996 - 10:20:39 BST

> From: "Bollons Nicholas" <>
> Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 19:56:39 GMT
> In this observation Pasteur was making reference to the
> appearance of creativity in humans, and how such a phenomena
> may come about. Although his statement was originally aimed
> at the scientific community and the occurrence of novel and
> new scientific ideas within it. It can be (and is) applied
> to human creativity in general.
> In favouring a prepared mind Pasteur does not refer to a
> mind being prepared by innate structure, or some form of
> creative brain area (though intelligence can be an asset).
> But that a mind which is prepared by obtaining knowledge,
> skills and understanding of an area, may (though by no means
> this is an assurance) become creative in that area.
> Understanding all about physics gives no pre-requisite that
> you will create a new theory there, but you are more
> favourable to the mysterious factor of chance than a
> person who does not understand, or has no knowledge of
> physics. They could create a theory but it most probably
> will not be scientifically valid, or if creativity is like
> magic he/she may not even understand this theory-thing
> that has appeared in their head.

Most likely, an unprepared mind will not even contain the essential raw
materials out of which a successful theory could be constructed.

> Pasteur is also not stating a formula : chance + prepared
> mind = creativity. Random chance is still the important
> factor, and where it is going to strike he cannot, and
> nobody can (though some have tried) predict. However, the
> probability of creativity is likely to increase more in the
> human with a prepared and knowledged mind, rather than
> one with an un-prepared 'unknowledged' mind. (It is rather
> strange then, that to create something new you have to
> master something old).

For an A, this needs to be integrated with some of the bigger issues
such as intelligence, algorithms, computation, analog processing, etc.

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