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Aha! : the moments of insight that shape our world

Author: William Braxton Irvine
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2015]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Why do "aha moments" strike us suddenly? Why do they so often come to us when we are focused on something completely unrelated? And when great ideas "come to" us, where do they come from? In Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World, philosopher William B. Irvine explores these epiphanies, from the minor insights that strike us all daily, to the major realizations that alter the course of history. Focusing  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: William Braxton Irvine
ISBN: 9780199338870 0199338876 9780190690274 0190690275
OCLC Number: 878299420
Description: x, 362 pages ; 18 cm
Contents: Introduction --
Part One. The Aha Moment in Religion: Chapter 1. Seeing the Light; Chapter 2. Vision or Hallucination?; Chapter 3. Other People's Visions --
Part Two. The Aha Moment in Morality: Chapter 4. The Two Kinds of Moral Epiphany; Chapter 5. Moral Feelings and Moral Codes; Chapter 6. The Problem with Moral Reformers --
Part Three. The Aha Moment in Science: Chapter 7. The Joy of Discovery; Chapter 8. On Keeping an Open Mind; Chapter 9. Dealing with Rejection --
Part Four. The Aha Moment in Mathematics: Chapter 10. Moments of Pure Insight; Chapter 11. The Magic of Incubation; Chapter 12. The After-Math --
Part Five. The Aha Moment in the Arts: Chapter 13. Lots of Little Ahas; Chapter 14. On Managing One's Muse; Chapter 15. But Is It Art? --
Conclusion: Food for Thought.
Responsibility: William B. Irvine.

Abstract:

"Why do "aha moments" strike us suddenly? Why do they so often come to us when we are focused on something completely unrelated? And when great ideas "come to" us, where do they come from? In Aha!: The Moments of Insight that Shape Our World, philosopher William B. Irvine explores these epiphanies, from the minor insights that strike us all daily, to the major realizations that alter the course of history. Focusing on aha moments as they take place in five different domains--religion, morality, science, math, and art--Irvine provides case studies that shed light on the different ways epiphanies happen in the different domains, and on their differing social impact. Along the way, he describes some of the great aha moments in history, from ancient times to the present day. We like to think that our greatest thoughts are the product of our conscious mind. Irvine demonstrates, though, that it is our unconscious mind that is the source of our most significant insights, and that the role the conscious mind plays in eliciting these insights is to try, unsuccessfully, to solve certain problems. Only if the conscious mind is willing to do this--and thereby experience considerable frustration--is the unconscious mind likely to reward it with a breakthrough insight--that the conscious mind will then take credit for. Irvine explores not only the neuroscience of aha moments but also their personal and social ramifications. How does a person respond to having a breakthrough insight that goes against a dominant paradigm? And how does the world respond when she shares that insight? He shows that in many cases, what is most remarkable about those who have had the great insights of human history is not their brilliance but their courage and perseverance in fighting for the world to accept them"--

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With wide-ranging erudition and elegant style, Aha! is a fascinating study of the Eureka! phenomenon. In addition to asking how ideas happen, philosopher William B. Irvine delves deeply into how Read more...

 
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