The Gist of Creativity

  • Ingar Brinck
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 258)


Creativity is a notoriously evasive concept, and it is used to cover a lot of different phenomena. Different methods and a wide variety of angles have been used in the striving for a clear-cut conception. The focus has been on alternatively the personality of creative people, their childhood, the conditions that a society must fulfil to support a creative atmosphere, works of art contra the discoveries of science, changes in pedagogy to give rise to or improve creativity, computer models, intuition, and so on. Consequently, the resulting picture of creativity varies substantially depending on the goal of the inquiry as well as on the constraints that are set from the start, not only by the scope of the investigation, but also by the discipline that the investigator belongs to and the method that is used.


Knowledge Domain Target Domain Analogical Reasoning Benzene Molecule Similarity Judgment 
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  1. 1.
    M. Boden distinguishes between person-related and historical novelty, the former being new to the person who came up with it but possibly old to other people, the latter being of historical importance. I am mainly interested in the former kind of novelty. Cf. The Creative Mind (1991) New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See for instance his La Maison des Hommes (1936) Paris: Librairie Plon.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Cf. the paper (in Swedish) by N.-E. Sahlin and P. Gardenfors in Huvudinnehdll (eds. A.E. Andersson/N.-E. Sahlin) (1993) Falun: Nya Doxa. The issue has also been touched upon by S. Halldén in The Strategy of Ignorance (1986) Uppsala: Thales.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    For instance has L. Barsalou recently presented a both interesting and plausible theory of how linguistic symbols arise from perceptual ones in “Flexibility, Structure, and Linguistic Vagary in Concepts: Manifestations of a Compositional System of Perceptual Symbols” in Theories of Memory (eds. Collins/Gathercole/Conway/Morris) (1993) London: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    This fact has been underlined by P. Johnson-Laird in “Analogy and the Exercise of Creativity” and S. Vosniadou in “Analogical Reasoning as a Mechanism in Knowledge Acquisition: A Developmental Perspective”, both articles in Similarity and Analogical Reasoning (eds. S. Vosniadou/A. Ortony) (1989) New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    E. Smith, E. Shafir, and D. Osherson have shown that inductive inferences made with unfamiliar predicates is based on similarity between the premise and the conclusion categories. When the predicates instead are familiar, judgments of plausibility become pertinent. Plausibility judgments rest upon analyses or decompositions of the familiar predicates. See “Similarity, Plausibility, and Judgments of Probability” in Cognition, 49 (1993) 67–96.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    See e.g. “Ad hoc categories” in Memory & Cognition, it (1983) 211–227.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    J. Davidson underlines the role of selective comparison for getting insights in her study of gifted children in “Insight and Giftedness” in Conceptions of Giftedness (eds. R. J. Sternberg/J. E. Davidson) (1986) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    These three factors are also mentioned in R. Goldstone “The Role of Similarity in Categorisation: Providing a Groundwork”, Cognition,52 0994) 125–157.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingar Brinck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLund UniversitySweden

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