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Title:Being out of order: on creativity and its value
Author(s):Jeffries, Harvey
Director of Research:Schroeder, William R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schroeder, William R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Melnick, Arthur; Mohr, Richard; Schacht, Richard L.
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:I contend that a common form of human creativity operates in domains as diverse as art, science, and everyday life. Creativity is the capacity to introduce novel ways of making sense of experience, which entail new meaningful possibilities. Creativity enacts the becoming of new being. Three primary results characterize my study. First, creative novelty is discontinuous with antecedent orders that would seek to make sense of them. Thus, complete explanations for creative acts necessarily fail. Nonetheless creative novelties must be partially continuous with antecedent conditions in order to achieve meaning and value. These two aspects of creative novelty provide the basis for claiming that creativity puts one “out of order,” and this entails the characteristic, inextricable from creativity, that one creates something from nothing. Second, creative novelty is a modification of one’s own sense-making. This result is the key to grasping the generality of creativity in multiple domains and its importance in understanding the self. Scientific practice and everyday problem-solving often require creative work no less than artistic practice, and creativity affects one’s conscious ordering of experience which can account for much of who one is. Third, creativity does not necessarily imply a positive value. I argue against conceptions that either stipulate the positive value of creativity and its results or argue for the intrinsic value of new being. As a consequence, the evaluation of creativity stands to be much more complex, for both creators and the recipients of their creations, than is implied by contemporary definitions of creativity.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Harvey J. Jeffries
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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