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To what extent can an idea be unique?

Are all ideas just the combination of known principles or trial and error? Examples and peronal experiences are good as well as just opinions. This question could be expanded to any thought at all, not just ideas. If there is a thought that is almost entirely unique, there can't be any previous oppposite idea. What I mean is if an idea is the exact opposite of another it isn't really original. It just stated the opposite. If an entirely original idea can be made, how will it be formed?

I have some opinions currently, but I'm sure they'll change after your comments. Please ask me to expand or clarify if needed.

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  • Aug 6 2013: Part 1

    The word “unique” is derived from the Latin "unus," meaning “one,” and is defined as “being the only one;” “being without a like or equal.” At no point in the word’s definition a time frame is set. While it is ambiguous and allows for a variety of interpretations, I am unable to find any valid “rule” inherent in it that says that for an idea to be unique no one could ever have come up with it before, that it cannot be derived from another idea. Perhaps my limited knowledge does not allow me to understand a story that lies behind the origin of the word and that prevents me from understanding it in a different way. Or perhaps I cannot break the boundaries set by language and consider all possible definitions of “unique.” But, within my paradigm of thoughts and using provisional knowledge, I believe an idea can be unique within a certain society and scope, in the sense that it adds to that community something perceived as new and innovative.

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