Scientific and Artistic Creativity: In Search of Unifying Analogies

  • Ernesto Carafoli
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-88-470-0869-4_13

Cite this paper as:
Carafoli E. (2009) Scientific and Artistic Creativity: In Search of Unifying Analogies. In: Carafoli E., Danieli G.A., Longo G.O. (eds) The Two Cultures: Shared Problems. Springer, Milano


This chapter will attempt to demonstrate that the structure of the creativity process is the same in the artistic and scientific cultures, even if the two cultures are intrinsically different. The differences are clear: the practitioners of the scientific culture aim at acquiring impersonal and objective knowledge that will withstand the scrutiny by others, while the practitioners of the artistic culture aim at generating personal, subjective knowledge that does not need verification. Science makes progress, art changes, but does not make progress: the scientific theories of the early Greeks are now little more than historical curiosities, whereas Praxiteles’ sculptures have the same value and importance today as they had more than 2000 years ago. Science is right or wrong, art cannot be right or wrong. On this accepted background, this chapter will work to show that both cultures, different as they may be, nevertheless have the same aim. They try to understand reality and to make sense of it. The statement is not obvious: by traditional consensus, the search for truth and the generation of beauty have been considered the distinctive goals of the two cultures: Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1] summed up the concept in his incisive prose nearly 200 years ago:

The proper and immediate object of science is the acquirement, or communication of truth: the proper and immediate object of poetry is the communication of immediate pleasure.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Carafoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Chimica Biologica, Istituto Veneto di Medicina MolecolareUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPadovaItaly

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