Naturalistic approaches to creativity

In J. Systma W. Buckwalter (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy (2016)
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We offer a brief characterization of creativity, followed by a review of some of the reasons people have been skeptical about the possibility of explaining creativity. We then survey some of the recent work on creativity that is naturalistic in the sense that it presumes creativity is natural (as opposed to magical, occult, or supernatural) and is therefore amenable to scientific inquiry. This work is divided into two categories. The broader category is empirical philosophy, which draws on empirical research while addressing questions that have traditionally been regarded as philosophical. The second category is experimental philosophy, a special branch of empirical philosophy in which experiments are designed (by philosophers) with the explicit purpose of addressing philosophical questions. All of this highlights the relative theoretical neglect of creativity, while at the same time suggesting ample opportunity for experimentally minded philosophers to break new ground.

Author Profiles

Dustin Stokes
University of Utah
Elliot Samuel Paul
Queen's University


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