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


Authors
Peter Carruthers
University of Maryland, College Park
Abstract
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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References found in this work BETA

The Language Instinct.Steven Pinker - 1995 - Harper Perennial.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea.Daniel C. Dennett - 1996 - Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aesthetics and Cognitive Science.Dustin Stokes - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):715-733.
The Philosophy of Creativity.Berys Gaut - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1034-1046.
Minimally Creative Thought.Dustin Stokes - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (5):658-681.

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