Imagination and Creativity

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Imagination is the father of invention. Mental imagery has been a fairly constant topic in philosophy of mind, as has artistic creativity in aesthetics, and both issues have been hotly debated in psychology and cognitive science. But there has been much less concern to offer philosophical clarification of our various concepts of imagination and creativity - of what it means to 'imagine', be 'creative', and so on - and the relationships between these concepts.


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. ...
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