According to chapter 13, how does Diamond's theory of invention bear upon the traditional "heroic" model of invention?

1 Answer | Add Yours

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The "heroic theory of invention" stresses the role of individual geniuses in developing inventions. So we remember Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, James Watt and others as pioneers who brought forth their inventions from nothing. Diamond argues instead that inventors usually develop, adapt, or repurpose their inventions from previously existing technology. James Watt, for example, is remembered for inventing the steam engine, the inspiration for which he allegedly got by watching a teakettle boil. In reality, Watt developed his steam engine from a previously invented model by Thomas Newcomen, which was an adaptation of an engine developed by Thomas Savery, which had been inspired by earlier, European models. The point is that technology seldom develops in isolation, but rather by a process of adaptation and improvement. 


We’ve answered 317,420 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question