from Guns, Germs, and Steel, how does Diamond's theory that invention is, in fact, the mother of necessity bear upon the traditional "heroic" model of invention?

Expert Answers
sbriddon1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting concept.

The heroic model supposes that any invention is a product created by creative and unique individuals.  Sometimes this will be known as the 'great man' hypothesis.

Diamond's theory challenges this by showing that different civilizations and societies throughout history have made similar discoveries - simultaneously without any contact with the other groups.  Good examples might include the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry.  Going further, we have pottery, architecture and later writing.

Does this mean every civilization would have come up with the lightbulb eventually?  Good question.  The modern inventions as we know them were all products of a particular civilization.  Diamond would argue that steel, guns etc. were creations from Western civilization thanks to its fortunate advantages in the past.  There is therefore no way of scientifically proving this theory.

I will let you come up with your own ideas and conclusions from these initial ideas.  Hope that helps

Read the study guide:
Guns, Germs, and Steel

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question