Human creativity: Its cognitive basis, its evolution, and its connections with childhood pretence

This paper defends two initial claims. First, it argues that essentially the same cognitive resources are shared by adult creative thinking and problem-solving, on the one hand, and by childhood pretend play, on the other—namely, capacities to generate and to reason with suppositions (or imagined possibilities). Second, it argues that the evolutionary function of childhood pretence is to practice and enhance adult forms of creativity. The paper goes on to show how these proposals can provide a smooth and evolutionarily-plausible explanation of the gap between the first appearance of our species in Southern Africa some 100,000 years ago, and the ‘creative explosion’ of cultural, technological and artistic change which took place within dispersed human populations some 60,000 years later. The intention of the paper is to sketch a proposal which might serve as a guide for future interdisciplinary research. 1 Introduction 2 Creativity and Pretence 3 Language and Creativity 4 Language and Cultural Accretions 5 Language, Play and Model-Building 6 Creativity, Protean Cognition and Sexual Selection 7 The Evolution of Pretence 8 The Emergence of Supposing 9 Pretence and Motivation 10 Two Objections 11 Conclusion.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/53.2.225
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Berys Gaut (2010). The Philosophy of Creativity. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1034-1046.
Gregory Currie (2004). The Representational Revolution. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2):119–128.

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