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The Productive Anarchy of Scientific Imagination

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author StuartMichael,
Project Imagination in Science: What is it, how do we learn from it, and how can we improve it?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Philosophy of Science
Title of proceedings Philosophy of Science


Imagination is important for many things in science: solving problems, interpreting data, designing studies, etc. Philosophers of imagination typically account for the productive role played by imagination in science by focusing on how imagination is constrained, e.g., by using self-imposed rules to infer logically, or model events accurately. But the constraints offered by these philosophers either constrain too much, or not enough, and they can never account for uses of imagination that are needed to break today’s constraints in order to make progress tomorrow. Thus, epistemology of imagination needs to make room for an element of epistemological anarchy.