AMIYA KUMAR BAGCHI
Inventiveness in Society
LEARNING, improvising and inventing and transmitting the results of such activities are the characteristics that distinguish human society from societies of other animals. There are animals which learn to do a few new things, which might also improvise to a certain extent, but there arc no known non-human species which have built such activities into the character of the society itself.
As with many other activities that man (or woman) engages himself in, these processes of learning and invention arc also only imperfectly understood by us. That, of course, provides a challenge to any enquiring mind. Attempts to understand the processes of learning have led, on the one hand, to new developments in psychology and, on the other, to exciting theoretical enterprises in linguistics. Philosophers of science have turned their attention from the problem of what a scientific theory docs to that of how scientific thcories^are created. Popper's falsification criterion has been succeeded by Kuhn's "paradigm" and Lakatos's research programmes.
But there are enquiries in a related field which so far lack a coherent theoretical focus. There arc studies of technical and scientific changes that are directly related to production and