Oslo Mind Group Seminar: Francesca Secco, Why is Creative Thinking Praiseworthy?

We will be discussing a draft of ‘Why is Creative Thinking Praiseworthy?’ by Francesca Secco.

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Creative thinking and its outcomes are widely appreciated in our society. Not only do we value novel ideas and intuitions, but we also praise the agents for their creative thinking. This practice is in tension with other traits of this activity. Creative thinking is open-ended and highly spontaneous. Indeed, many instances of creative thinking seems just to happen to the agent. If having new ideas is just a lucky circumstance, why should we praise the agent for having them?

I draw a parallel with moral theories to discuss what we need to justify the attribution of praise to an agent for her creative thinking. I consider the approach presented in deep self theories, and I suggest that agents can be held responsible for creative thinking in virtue of its connection with what they care about. With this idea in mind, I state the commitment principle. According to it, an agent should be held responsible for her creative thinking and praised for it, because she has the commitment necessary to gain the knowledge and the experiences needed to obtain that novel insight.

The commitment principle has the merit of accounting for the whole spectrum of creative thinking, independently of how much the agent is intentionally doing something, or how much she can control it. Accepting this principle means to acknowledge that there are spontaneous instances of creative thinking that depend on the agent’s character, interests, and past experiences, which set the conditions for them to happen in certain ways.

How to attend

This is a read-ahead seminar and will take place via Zoom. All are welcome to attend (Zoom account required).

The meeting link, along with a copy of the paper to be discussed, will be made available in advance via the Oslo Mind Group Team, which is open to all University of Oslo members, or upon request from the organizer for non-UiO users (see below).


Keith Wilson
Published Feb. 15, 2021 10:13 AM - Last modified Mar. 2, 2021 9:13 AM