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The value of imaginativeness

Grant, James (2012) The value of imaginativeness. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2), pp. 275-289. ISSN 0004-8402.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): imagination, creativity, value theory, virtue epistemology
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Dr James Grant
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2012 16:37
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

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