An Experiential Account of Creativity

Bence Nanay



The aim of the chapter is to argue that the difference between creative and noncreative mental processes is not a functional/computational one, but an experiential one. In other words, what is distinctive about creative mental processes is not the functional/computational mechanism that leads to the emergence of a creative idea, be it the recombination of old ideas or the transformation of one’s conceptual space, but the way in which this mental process is experienced. The explanatory powers of the functional/computational theories and the experiential account are compared, and it is pointed out that if creativity is a natural kind, it is not a functional/computational natural kind, but an experiential one.


Keywords:   creativity, originality, experience, functional/computational role, action

On Nanay's account Semi-formalism

The end of art

The basic meaning of the term "art" has changed several times over the centuries and continued to evolve during the 20th century as well. Danto describes the history of Art in his own contemporary version of Hegel's dialectical history of art. "Danto is not claiming that no-one is making art anymore; nor is he claiming that no good art is being made any more. But he thinks that a certain history of western art has come to an end, in about the way that Hegel suggested it would."[13] The "end of art" refers to the beginning of our modern era of art in which art no longer adheres to the constraints of imitation theory but serves a new purpose. Art began with an "era of imitation, followed by an era of ideology, followed by our post-historical era in which, with qualification, anything goes. In our narrative, at first only mimesis [imitation] was art, then several things were art but each tried to extinguish its competitors, and then, finally, it became apparent that there were no stylistic or philosophical constraints. There is no special way works of art have to be. And that is the present and, I should say, the final moment in the master narrative. It is the end of the story."[14]


  • Nietzsche as Philosopher (1965)
  • Analytical Philosophy of History (1965)
  • What Philosophy Is (1968)
  • Analytical Philosophy of Knowledge (1968)
  • Mysticism and Morality: Oriental Thought and Moral Philosophy (1969)
  • Analytical Philosophy of Action (1973)
  • Sartre (Fontana Modern Masters, 1975)
  • The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (1981)
  • Narration and Knowledge (1985) - Including earlier book Analytical Philosophy of History (1965)
  • The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art (1986)
  • Connections to the World: The Basic Concepts of Philosophy (1989; with new preface, 1997)
  • Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present (1990)
  • Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective (1992)
  • Embodied Meanings: Critical Essays and Aesthetic Meditations (1994)
  • After the End of Art (1997)
  • The Abuse of Beauty (2003)
  • What Art Is (2013)
  • Remarks on Art and Philosophy (2014)

Creativity and the Wandering Mind

Spontaneous and Controlled Cognition
Explorations in Creativity Research
2020, Pages 121-158

Chapter 6 - Altered states of consciousness and creativity

Creativity pervades human life. It is the mark of individuality, the vehicle of self-expression, and the engine of progress in every human endeavor. It also raises a wealth of neglected and yet evocative philosophical questions: What is the role of consciousness in the creative process? How does the audience for a work for art influence its creation? How can creativity emerge through childhood pretending? Do great works of literature give us insight into human nature? Can a computer program really be creative? How do we define creativity in the first place? Is it a virtue? What is the difference between creativity in science and art? Can creativity be taught?

The Philosophy of Creativity

Edited by Elliot Samuel Paul and Scott Barry Kaufman


Creativity, Experiential Theories

Bence Nanay


Most theories of creativity focus on the distinctive functional/computational mechanism that accounts for what makes creative mental processes creative. They disagree about what this functional/computational mechanism is supposed to be (whether it is the recombination of old ideas or the transformation of one’s conceptual space, etc.) but they are in agreement about the kind of explanation to be offered – a functional/computational one. Experiential theories of creativity question this assumption that what makes creative mental processes creative is a distinctive functional/computational mechanism. According to these theories, creativity of creative mental processes is to be explained with reference to the way in which this mental process is experienced.


Creativity Versus Originality

Creativity and originality are often used as synonyms. Arguably, this is a mistake. Being original is usually contrasted with being derivative: An idea, for example, is...

Creativity under consciousness 

Creative consciousness, is it in logics?

There were always "Semi-Formalism" in Arts, but there was no account. The research of Nanay is a great, how he consisted his account Semi-Formalism, that a honorary research. He is a young, but a great philosopher in contemporary aesthetics.

In a context, I can express, I have been dealing with Semi-Formalism in Arts, not deal with Formalism, due to the materiality.


If one expresses, that "My artwork is Semi-Formalism", is not in Semi-Formalism account, but rather in the terms of Idealism.

My artistic research on subjectivity and objectivity is from the perspective of neuroscience, thereby I cannot research with others subjective. I have the result of my Brain MRI of the medical examination already, it was really good (balanced and healthy). The medical doctor in Germany said to me that I would heal with the medical treatment in two years, however, it was in one year with the medicament. This research was started by me when I was sick, so the context of the research is authentic.

- On my brain subjectivity and objectivity through art.

Creativity and Philosophy

Berys Gaut, Matthew Kieran

My suggestion in artsitic research is Creativity (Kreativität) and Authenticity (Authentizität) of art or/and human activity (to create something).

"Originality" is for me the question at the same level of "Genome" from the biological aspect, includes the question for identity. How we can judge "originality" in today's multiple societies? On average, human ideas are similar and generall. Particularly, functional/computational arts, since using computer software as a tool (Werkzeug). I call it a new type of unformal formalism, and the culture would be produced argorhitomically and it seems organic.

Creativity as matters

  • creativity as a virtue, imagination, epistemic virtue, moral virtue and personal vice;
  • creativity with and without value, the definition of creativity, creative failures and suffering;
  • creativity in nature, divine creativity and human agency;
  • naturalistic explanations of creativity and the extended mind;
  • creativity in philosophy, mathematics and logic, and the role of heuristics;
  • creativity in art, morality and politics;
  • individual and group creativity.

Time and Free WillAn Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness by Henri Bergson

"In Time and Free Will, written as his doctoral thesis, Bergson tries to dispel the arguments against free will. These arguments, he shows, come from a confusion of different ideas of time. Physicists and mathematicians conceive of time as a measurable construct much like the spatial dimensions. But in human experience, life is perceived as a continuous and unmeasurable flow rather than as a succession of marked-off states of consciousness — something that can be measured not quantitatively, but only qualitatively. And because human personalities express themselves in acts that cannot be predicted, Bergson declares free will to be an observable fact."

Formalism and Semi-Formalis in the new logic from the aspect of the 21st century

-> For instance, Differences in DNA sequences between human and monkey:



Adjectives for object and discrimination is the problem more than an image on facebook. For instance, Aadjective such as elegant, sophisticated, ugly, which adjective, human cannot determine.

Barthles's research was also in this context in the popular culture.

Today's in pop culture "Adjectives" is a big attention more than an image. People want to listen "Adjectives" as a reaction in the poplure culture. I think that it requires to research, with same as Barthles's research method.

Can you express Monkey's DNA sequences in a word adjective? If human has the knowledge, a person start to express informational, what a person object "Monkey's DNA sequences" sees.

As an artist, for the audience, I would like to ask, "What do you see it?" instead of the presentation "This is an object."


the question for computer language level that is in mathematics and logics.

The image just "It looks like", such as determine "this object is white or black" , that is the question for animal instinct level.

I expressed about Housen's composition "He does not look elegant, but his sound is elegant.", because his sound composition with Lukas Huisman, which one he introduce me, it was commercial norm. So, I replied to him a sentence on commercial norm. People in commercial like to listen the adjective "elegant", I don't know, if Housen like adjective "elegant" , but it was my honesty. His sound is elegant, but nothing to say more than "elegant", that is not my research subject to discurse about individual taste at instict level. However, that is his job.

On perception:

Way of Réne Magritte: Subjective seeing, a perspective of reflection in mind, that is the different as symbolism, was the metaphor.

How he depicted an object (a view), he stands at the same position as the viewer, but from the subjective perspective of him. How the viewer sees the depicted image, the viewer sees Magritte beyond the depicted object (copyright holder/originator).

People are imitating his painting as an inspiring object today.

What do you see from this object? 

What do you see from that object?



I mention always, art is not to believe but rather to perceive.

New perspectives from art criticism in Music and Visual arts:


Human and Non-Human in Arts.

Western art (is besed on Western language) and Non-western art (is based on Non-Western language)

*Non-Western art is, that has its origins language in other European languages.

Western Art is, that has its origins European language Art, Russian art is also Western Art.


Brian Massumi


Philosophy of experience

Massumi's approach to perception and the philosophy of experience is closely tied to his political philosophy through the theory of affect.[32] Massumi famously distinguishes emotion from affect. Following Spinoza, he defines affect as "the capacity to affect and be affected." This locates affect in encounters in the world, rather than the interiority of a psychological subject. Emotion, he argues, is the interiorization of affect toward psychological expression. He locates affect as such in a nonconscious "zone of indistinction" or "zone of indeterminacy" between thought and action.[33][34] This zone of indeterminacy is the "field of emergence" of determinate experience, but itself resists capture in functional systems or structures of meaning.

Affect's resistance to capture leaves a "remainder" of unactualized capacity that continues in the world as a "reserve" of potential available for a next determination, or "taking-form" of experience in definitive action, perception and emotion.[35][36] Massumi refers to this remaindering of potential across an ongoing process of serial formation as the "autonomy" of affect[37]

In this context, I think the difference is more important than originality, whether humans or monkeys is original. 

Humans would like to focus on proving the "original" generally, but isn't that the limit of human "natural" cognition?  Today, we have "scientific" cognition with device (technology), that is my reserach perspective. How human's cognition would change between gap of natural cognition and scienstific cognition?

->Artistic research: From threefoldness to multi-foldness

Intention and its logic in mind as artistic concept.

- Transparent, you can never see "this object".

Way of Maurits Cornelis Escher was the manifold perspectives on a two-dimensional surface, what is interesting in his depiction, that is time and space, which metaphor of life and death.

His work impossible cube is on contradiction of three-dimensionalonal depiction on a two-dimensional surface. It is the same with the sculpture, in the case of the sculpture, it comes out the contradiction to create in the three-dimensional space by a two-dimensional idea (design concept), in other words, by the transformation of a two-dimensional idea (design concept) into the three-dimensional space.

The logic by an artist, which is the same as Magritte's method. If People ask me "how do you create an artwork?" Then if I answer, I will answer that I create artwork the same as the logic of Kant. My question is how can I represent my artwork (to create a communication with persons).

For instance, Rothko's painting, which is also in logics, is not the instinct level. 

Currently, I study actual molecular biology, DNA Sequences.

Even for scientists, the question "What do you see from that object?" is a forever question.

We humans, we don't know everything, maybe a little knowledge of nature.

Jackson Pollock's work was on randomness, but by his action (intention).

How viewer sees his action painting (...)

In the philosophycal aspect, 


Ästhetik der Sitten: die Affinität von ästhetischem Gefühl und praktischer Vernunft bei Kant

Birgit Reicki


Mit der Kopernikanischen Wende zum Subjekt der weltkonstituierenden Erfahrung hat Immanuel Kant auch die Geltungsanspruche der Urteile, die sich mit dem Erkennen, dem Handeln und dem Fuhlen verbinden, radikal voneinander geschieden. Ebenso wie er die theoretische von der praktischen Vernunft, das Wahre und das Gute in ihren Prinzipien trennt, lost er auch die traditionelle Verbindung des Guten mit dem Schonen durch die Grundlegung moralischen Handelns in der praktischen Vernunft, des asthetischen Urteils in der reflektierenden Urteilskraft auf. Doch die kritische Erorterung zieht zwangslaufig die Reflexion auf die Einheit der Vernunft nach sich, der sich die Verbindung des Guten mit dem Schonen in ganz neuer Weise erschliesst. Am Ende der Kritik der asthetischen Urteilskraft, in der die Autonomie des asthetischen Urteils zu erweisen war, zeichnet Kant das Schoneals Symbol des Sittlichguten aus. Die Arbeit zeigt, dass hier kein Selbstwiderspruch der Theorie liegt: Im Ausgang von der spekulativen Frage nach der Einheit der theoretischen und der praktischen Vernunft, im Aufweis ihres gemeinsamen Urteilsprinzips der Zweckmassigkeit, das fur Kant im asthetischen Urteil aufzufinden ist, erschliesst die Autorin mit dem Zusammenhang von Asthetik und Teleologiekritik zugleich das gesamte Feld der wechselseitigen Reflexion asthetischen und moralischen Urteilens. In einer systematischen Interpretation wird das praktische Element der asthetisch reflektierenden Urteilskraft, die moralische Bedeutung des asthetischen Gefuhls herausgestellt. Auf dieser Grundlage lassen sich auch die Rolle der asthetisch reflektierenden Urteilskraft und der Anteil des Gefuhls in der Moral deutlicher bestimmen, als es ohne Rekurs auf die dritte Kritik moglich ist, und anders, als es der Gemeinplatz vom Rationalismus der Kantischen Ethik vermuten lasst.

-> Affect without the subjective process of perception, whether I can describe it as the "autonomy".

In my opinion, it is individual state of autonomy that consists of the active sense through free will which is based on human intelligence, which is independent of human disability and ability* in a body. How can we determine the subjective process of perception?, due to human mind.

*No one is perfect. Human body consists of disability and ability in a body, thereby, there is the conflict in mind. (dilenma)

---> modalistic art

---> bilinguistic art

Mentality and Language.

Fetzer, James H. “LANGUAGE AND MENTALITY: COMPUTATIONAL, REPRESENTATIONAL, AND DISPOSITIONAL CONCEPTIONS.” Behaviorism, vol. 17, no. 1, 1989, pp. 21–39. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41236081.                      

Non-Western art is, that has belongs to origins language in other of European languages.

Western Art is, that has its origins European  Language Art, Russian art is also Western Art.

On Susan Sontag's (briefly):

-> For example, food as an oject to eat.

Cognitive affect and Gustatory affect (taste)


I think that happiness is a state of being mentally unbound by anyone and through anything. For example, in marathon and dance, the "state of selflessness" after overcoming physical suffering. It doesn't matter if I win or lose, and I have no regrets.

-> Thereby Cassirer was advence more than Kant because his aspect was quantumly and in Einstein's theory.


When I studied phenotype and genotype molecular biology, I understood, how people talk about whiteness, coloured and physical proportion on race and gender at the naive level of thinking, who have no idea, rather at the instinct level. For instance, "want to be looked at as an attractive object for someone.", who has no communicational intelligence, be an object. But for what is an object? From the different aspect of displacing, we had discussed the education for teenager profoundly and for a long time. There are many misunderstandings about feminism because today's feminism is cultural fashion.

Authentic beauty is natural beauty that is ugly covered, in other words, without ugliness, natural beauty does not consist of. Every bodies are ugly, that is natural. Just on the digital image, people want to beleive that human is beautiful, which is an artificial illution by human.

-> Attention theories