David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):275-289 (2012)
The aim of this paper is to explain why imaginativeness is valuable. Recent discussions of imaginativeness or creativity (which I regard as the same property) have paid relatively little attention to this important question. My discussion has three parts. First, I elucidate the concept of imaginativeness by providing three conditions a product or act must satisfy in order to be imaginative. This account enables us to explain, among other things, why imaginativeness is associated with inspiration, why it is associated with the faculty of imagination, and why it is relative to persons and to contexts. Second, in the light of this account, I say what the imaginativeness of persons is. Philosophical discussions of the imaginativeness of persons usually treat it as a capacity. In fact, it is a tendency or disposition of a certain kind. Third, I give reasons why the imaginativeness of persons has the value it does. I begin by saying what the basic facts about its value are. When a person's imaginativeness is valuable, it is either (i) a good thing about a person, (ii) good for the person, or (iii) good for others. I provide explanations of each of these facts. I conclude by addressing the difficult question of whether a person's imaginativeness is non-instrumentally good for her. On Romantic and Romantic-inspired views, imaginativeness is non-instrumentally good for a person because of its connection with self-realization. I reject this claim. However, I argue that, often, imaginativeness is indeed non-instrumentally good for the imaginative person
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