Is there an explanation how two completely unrelated individuals that do not know each other can come up with the exact same idea? How does it work?

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Is there an explanation how two completely unrelated individuals that do not know each other can come up with the exact same idea? How does it work?

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For starters, if they are working in the same field they are going to make similar discoveries. The jet engine was invented in the UK and Nazi Germany during the 30’s and weaponized by both during World War II. Both engines were state secrets but the principles were the same. The aircraft (the Meteor vs. the ME262) were different.

There could be a need for a product – like all those cleaning products you see advertised. Two or more firms play with the same chemicals thus producing similar cleaning products.

I believe this is called parallel thought, or at least that’s the term used in legal cases in the US. Sometimes they both experienced the same event for example… An earthquake for example which might make both of them come up with an idea for a new earthquake shelter. Sometimes they have absolutely nothing in common. It’s very rare.

In science it’s referred to as multiple discovery, or simultaneous invention. The basic idea is that everyone has access to the same prior knowledge made by others, and are building upon it using the same tools.

It’s not really that rare. Consider basic tools and weapons such as spears, bows and arrows, axes, and swords, which were all invented by different cultures and societies that had no prior contact with each other.

EDIT: Many civilizations also independently discovered/created writing.

Broadly speaking, we’re all the same species, living in the same world, using the same tools (our brains) to make the same observations and discover the same things.

Ideas aren’t developed in a bubble. All we already know and have developed help shape our world, constraints within it, issues we face, partial solutions, etc. so some of those same inputs might cause 2 different people to see the same solution to a problem.