Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature

By William Fielding Ogburn | Go to book overview

5
INVENTIONS, MENTAL ABILITY AND
CULTURE

The addition of cultural forms that accumulate is the result of invention and discovery. That culture grows by means of inventions is of course universally recognized. But it is not clear just how inventions occur. It is quite customary to think of inventions as the achievement of native ability, for inventors have a high degree of mental ability. Hence it follows that an improvement in the inherent mental ability of the race would result in an increased number of inventions. This is true. But the truth of the converse statement does not follow. An increase in inventions is not always the result of an improvement in the inherent mental ability of the race, for there are other factors in the production of inventions in addition to ability. An increase in the number of inventions may flow from an increased mental ability, but the increase in mental ability may be purely cultural and not biological. A people may be more able because of training and not because of

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