February 24: Berys Gaut – The Value of Creativity

Wednesday 24th February, 5pm – 7pm, Grimond Lecture Theatre 2 (GLT2), University of Kent


The Value of Creativity

Creativity is generally regarded as an invariably valuable trait. But is that true? There seem to be cases of ‘dark’ creativity: for instance, a torturer may be creative, but his creativity makes the world a worse place. I develop a definition of ‘creativity’ in terms of an agential disposition to produce new things that are valuable of their kind, and employ this account to show that creativity has instrumental value, final value (value as an end), but only conditional value, i.e., it is valuable only under some circumstances. I also argue for a constitutive connection between creativity and spontaneity and show how spontaneity contributes to the value of creativity. An upshot of the argument is that sometimes enhancing creativity is a bad thing.