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Locked-In and Expandable Creative Domains

Patrik Engisch (Geneva)

Recent philosophy of creativity has spilled much ink on the nature of creativity but much less on its structure. In this paper, I attempt to remedy this shortcoming by defending two complementary theses. The first one, which I call Triple-C, claims that the standard understanding of creativity as valuable novelty must be disambiguated to distinguish between three different and complementary forms of creativity which I call, respectively, idle, productive, and super-productive. The second one, which I call Double-C, claims that this threefold distinction can be put to use to distinguish between two metaphysically distinct kinds of creative domains: locked-in ones, which are bound up by productive creativity, and expandable ones, which allow in addition for super-productive creativity. Not only are these results substantial ones with regard to our understanding of creativity, they also show how creativity can be used as a modal tool to understand better the nature of different domains. The overall resulting picture is a more fine-grained understanding of creativity that sheds light not only on creativity itself but also on the nature of different creative domains such as technical artifacts, art, and, last but not least, philosophy.

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