Creation as reconfiguration: Art in the advancement of science

Catherine Elgin
Harvard University
Cognitive advancement is not always a matter of acquiring new information. It often consists in reconfiguration--in reorganizing a domain so that hitherto overlooked or underemphasized features, patterns, opportunities, and resources come to light. Several modes of reconfiguration prominent in the arts--metaphor, fiction, exemplification, and perspective--play important roles in science as well. They do not perform the same roles as literal, descriptive, perspectiveless scientific truths. But to understand how science advances understanding, we need to appreciate the ineliminable cognitive contributions of non-literal, non-descriptive symbols.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02698590120118792
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,182
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction and Forecast.NELSON GOODMAN - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1968 - Bobbs-Merrill.
Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1970 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (1):62-63.
Considered Judgement.Bruce Aune - 2000 - Mind 109 (434):334-337.
Considered Judgment.Catherine Elgin - 1996 - Princeton: New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Idealizations and Scientific Understanding.Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):237-252.
Thought Experiments: State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James R. Brown - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 1-28.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
92 ( #95,670 of 2,289,447 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #587,611 of 2,289,447 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature