According to the Oxford English Dictionary, imagination is "the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful." Thus, it is traditionally believed that creativity is the manifestation of the imagination. From the way in which we use the term "imagination," it appears that it is thought that the two can be equated; that telling someone to "be more creative" is exactly the same as saying, "use the imagination." That the imagination can be associated to creativity is clearly indubitable, but it is the type of association that is questionable.
Before the discussion link between creativity and the imagination, it must be stated first what constitutes creativity and secondly what we mean by the term "imagination." According to Gaut there are three conditions of creativity. First, creativity must be original. There would be no point in creating a sonnet in which one can compare his love to a summer's day, as it would not be original. Even if one did, the sonnet would be of no value - the second condition of creativity. Kant has pointed out that even the most nonsensical work of art can be original, but it is not creative unless it is exemplary i.e. of value. The third condition of creativity is that it has to have flair; an artist must have the intention to create the work in that way. If one splatter link across a page, it may be original, but since the end product is arrived at inadvertently, one must have had no style or flair and thus it is not creative. Subsequently, in Gaut's words, "Originality, value and flair are the vital ingredients in creative making."
There are a number of different uses of the term "imagination." First, "imagine" can mean, "falsely believe" such as in a situation whereby a person is told that he is "imagining things" in the context that he has misperceived something. Secondly, "imagination" can be used as a close synonym for creativity (as in the sentence, "Use imagination.") Finally, it is used to mean mental imagery, as in the case that someone is describing a person and can imagine his face. Whilst all these definitions of imagination are correct within their contexts, it is widely agreed between philosophers that imagination cannot be defined in one way. It does not necessarily have to entail a false belief, nor does it need to involve mental imagery.
With these understandings of creativity and the imagination, it seems unlikely that creativity absolutely requires the imagination. This is also made clear by the two different types of creativity: passive and active. The former takes place when we are unaware of the creative process, when something creative is arrived at without much thought. For example, Russell claimed that when writing Principia Mathematica he would frequently go to bed not knowing the answer to a particularly troublesome problem, but would wake up the next morning able to solve it. By comparison, active imagination occurs when we attempt to find various works of creativity and consciously arrive at one. While this type of creative act requires the imagination, passive creativity proves that the imagination it not a necessity to creativity.
On the same level, many philosophers do not believe that every imagining absolutely requir