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Novel & worthy: Creativity as thick epistemic concept

Sánchez-Dorado, Julia (2020) Novel & worthy: Creativity as thick epistemic concept. [Preprint]

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The standard view in current philosophy of creativity says that being creative has two requirements: being novel and being valuable (to which a third intentionality requirement is often added; Sternberg and Lubart 1999; Boden 2004; Gaut 2010). The standard view on creativity has recently become an object of critical scrutiny. Bird and Hills (2018) have specifically proposed to remove the value requirement from the definition, as it is not clear that creative objects are necessarily valuable and creative people necessarily praiseworthy. In this paper, I argue against Bird and Hills (2018), since eliminating the element of value from the explanation of creativity hinders the understanding of the role that actual creative objects and ideas play in epistemic practices, which are fundamentally normative. More specifically, I argue that the terms ‘creativity’ and ‘creative’ function as thick epistemic concepts when employed by competent epistemic agents in practice, that is, these concepts have both a descriptive and an evaluative content that cannot be disentangled from one another. Accordingly, I suggest that philosophers should prefer thick accounts over thin accounts of creativity. A thick account of creativity is one that endorses the standard view at its basis, but further develops it in two ways: by stressing the entanglement of the value and novelty requirements; by permitting to encompass a range of domain-specific characterizations of such entanglement for different epistemic situations. In order to take the first step in the development of such a thick account, I look at the domain of scientific practice as a case in point, and try to spell out what the thickness (or entanglement of novelty and worth) of creative instances typically entails here. Namely, I identify the worthy novelty of creative models and methods with their potential to clarify a tradition, with fruitfulness, and with the fulfilment of exploratory aims.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: creativity; thick concepts; epistemic values; novelty; exploration; fruitfulness
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Julia Sanchez-Dorado
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2020 03:32
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2020 03:32
Item ID: 18042
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2020

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