Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Fragments of Zarathustra: The North Wind

Dipping back into Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra after a three-year hiatus and am amazed at how dense and rich it is when you concentrate and spend time immersed in single passages (though of course with Nietzsche's work especially, no single part can be wholly grasped without reference to the broader panorama of his whole thought). I'm considering going over the text again and sharing my interpretations of a few selected passages for future posts, the first of which we'll look at now:
The figs are falling from the trees, they are fine and sweet: and as they fall their red skins split. I am a north wind to ripe figs. Thus, like figs, do these teachings fall to you, my friends: now drink their juice and eat their sweet flesh! It is autumn all around and clear sky and afternoon - Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part II, "On the Blissful Islands"
The figs, as Nietzsche makes clear, are the teachings of Zarathustra (and therefore of Nietzsche himself). A prevalent theme in the Zarathustra, and in much of Nietzsche's work, is that of nihilism, a problem which finally led him to propose a "revaluation of all values". The destruction of values, principles, ways of living, and so on was felt by Nietzsche to result from the prevailing values' own will-to-truth. The values destroy themselves when they turn backwards and discover falsehoods where truth was supposed to dwell.

As the "north wind" Nietzsche presents himself literally as a force of nature, an icey Hyperborean force descending from Northern Europe to cast the ripened figs to the Earth. The image of a fig is also deeply significant. Note how the figs are already ripe, all Nietzsche can do is take them down off the branches. He cannot create them ex nihilo - they are received, inherited from the past (recall Nietzsche's love of necessity, life overcoming itself, amor fati...) In a passage from Ecce Homo, Nietzsche shares his thoughts about creativity with respect to his experience writing the Zarathustra: "Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a distinct conception of what poets of strong ages called inspiration? [...] One is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely medium of overwhelming forces. [...] One hears, one does not seek; one takes, one does not ask who gives; a thought flashes up like lightning, with necessity, unfalteringly formed - I have never had any choice".

In Twilight of the Idols Nietzsche denounces the notion of free will (and therefore also of blame) as contrary to necessity, sourcing them in the desire to punish those who do you wrong. If there is no free will, the idea goes, those who do us harm cannot be held responsible (and therefore cannot be punished). Elsewhere he speaks of the notion of free will being founded in the idea that we are in essence some sort of separate ego-substrate, a transcendental eye which sees absolutely, and which is not bound by the necessity through which the phenomenal world declares itself. The notion of returning to Earthly values, and of affirming the phenomenal world as the only demonstrable world, is a theme permeating Nietzsche's mature work, and in fact one of the primary themes in the Zarathustra. The old values to be replaced are, after all, those transcendentalising doctrines which interpret life as worthless and which posit other more 'meaningful' worlds, either theistic or metaphysical.

In any case, the metaphor here is poignant - the teachings are just "one necessity more", hanging from the branch, necessitated by the tree, necessitated by the Earth... Necessity itself is not overthrown along with the old values but is in the process of overcoming only affirmed again. And with the wax and wane of the seasons the figs ripen and become ready for harvest. The seasons themselves are a classic example of necessity as life overcoming itself, and as Nietzsche has presented his thought in a clear autumn afternoon, the north wind metaphor is particularly remarkable. His attention to sensations and feelings along with his aversion to merely intellectual argument wholly justifies itself in this vivid display. Autumn signals its fate: the coming of winter - the north wind is a grim reminder of what is to come. But what is so powerful is that Nietzsche saw himself as telling us the history of the next 200 years... a cold and discomforting reminder of the future indeed. He hailed the coming of the new values and therefore also the destruction of the old, a moment of such significance that Nietzsche presents it as nothing less than the murder of God - an act which would plunge Europe into the cold and dark winter of nihilism.

After Zarathustra's disciples take the teachings and begin the creation of new values, nihilism overcomes itself and we emerge refreshed in the Spring and the Summer whence the new values reign, and on again into autumn and to eternal recurrence...

Monday, 20 February 2012

On Perspectivism, Science, and the Affects in Nietzsche

In this essay I am going to critically discuss Nietzsche’s account of perspectivism, defending Brian Leiter’s rejection of what has come to be known as the received view. With his interpretation in view I aim to unearth an example of perspectival interpretation embedded in the last part of the Genealogy of Morals (henceforth ‘GM’). To this end I hope to go some way towards answering the question of what Nietzsche means when he speaks of perspectives and consequently how he understands interpretation.

The place which we find Nietzsche’s most explicit account of perspectivism is found in the GM section 12. In it he denounces the idea of a “pure, will-less, painless, timeless, knowing subject” insisting that it is in fact unintelligible to imagine a knowing being having a nature of that kind. For Nietzsche, the separation of the will and the intellect amounts to the latter’s castration. At the section’s close he asserts the priority of knowing grounded in an active interpretive engagement with the world organised from within a perspective and insists that such perspectival knowing is the only kind of knowing.

Nietzsche’s comments are, unfortunately, very brief and so a plentiful horizon of interpretive possibilities has been opened up trying to get clear on what Nietzsche means when he talks of perspectives and interpretation. The “received view” has it that perspectivism amounts to the following claims: the world has no determinate nature, our models of the world are necessarily in error (no interpretation has a definite state of affairs to correspond to), and as a result no ‘mere’ interpretation is any better than another.[1] The evidence for this interpretation is found throughout Nietzsche’s work, in his denial of an absolutely knowable reality,[2] his challenging of the value of truth,[3] and his insistence that all understanding is interpretation.[4]

Treating all of these issues would take us beyond the remit of the current paper, however presenting some interpretive evidence against the received view (henceforth ‘RV’) will be necessary in support of the present claim. The aspect of Leiter’s interpretation which is significant in the context of the present essay is his emphasis on passages where Nietzsche can be seen speaking of a certain privileged mode of access to reality. The idea is that if Nietzsche’s mature philosophy does contain a notion of epistemic privilege then the RV (which asserts priority over no view) will simply be at odds with Nietzsche’s other mature views, rendering the interpretation inconsistent.[5]

Throughout his later work we often see Nietzsche rejecting ‘spiritual’ or metaphysical interpretations of matters in favour of naturalistic or physiological accounts. At the end of GM I he in fact offers a sort of challenge to academia, to involve physiologists and physicians in developing the history of moral concepts. He writes that “all ‘Thou shalts’ […] require physiological investigation and interpretation prior to psychological examination".[6] Elsewhere, Nietzsche describes the possible physiological grounds of ressentiment as “excessive secretion from the gall-bladder”, “deficiency of sulphuric or phosphoric potash in the blood”, and “poor circulation in the lower body”, among others.[7] Yet more revealingly he even says that “if one cannot deal with ‘spiritual suffering’ […] this is not the fault of his ‘spirit’; but more probably that of his stomach” and “if he cannot ‘deal’ with an experience, then this kind of indigestion is as much a matter of physiology as the other kind".[8]

Similarly, in Twilight of the Idols (henceforth ‘TI’) Nietzsche describes a fundamental error of morality and religion in their conflation of cause and effect.[9] Morality and religion err by prescribing a way to live and insisting that following it will grant happiness. Nietzsche instead holds that “one can experience hope because the physiological basic feeling is once more strong and ample".[10] This reversal means that the state of the body provides the condition of possibility for feeling ill or well, but Nietzsche’s whole claim is even stronger than this. He seems to want to tell us that a good constitution necessarily causes someone to perform certain acts (they must, he writes) and refrain from others, contra the religious/moral view that happiness actually results from such acts of faith, charity, and hope themselves.[11] Nietzsche here explicitly denounces moral and religious interpretations as translation into a "false dialect".[12]

The difficulty the RV faces is translating Nietzsche’s talk of falsehoods, errors, and the priority of physiological interpretation into the sorts of radically sceptical terms it must couch him in. If one interpretation cannot be better than another, why does Nietzsche quite obviously prefer to emphasise physiological phenomena in his discussions of morality? Leiter offers two ways a proponent of the RV might respond to this challenge, the most promising of which is denying that Nietzsche grants epistemic privilege to naturalistic and physiological interpretations. On this view Nietzsche favours an interpretation on the basis of its pragmatic value where endorsement emerges not of a relationship to truth but out of its contribution to living well. Certainly in his notebooks he describes every interpretation as “a symptom of growth or decline"[13] which would seem to suggest a mode of evaluation apart from epistemic concerns.

The problem is that if the world has no determinate structure then how could it be that moral and religious interpretations translate somatic phenomena into a false dialect? In order for something to be falsified there must be a discrepancy between the way in which it is and the way in which it has been presented. This simply doesn’t make any sense under the RV which has it that, owing to its lack of a determinate structure, any interpretation of the world is as good as another. Further supporting passages are provided by Leiter, indicating where Nietzsche denounces morality and religion for their lack of contact with reality[14] and where he stresses that the phenomenal world is the only demonstrable world.[15][16] The consequence of this view is that it devalues transcendental interpretations such as religion, morality, and metaphysics. Furthermore, as Nietzsche is here explicitly praising a mode of access to reality it seems the most obvious way of understanding his rejection is epistemic and not pragmatic.

Leiter makes use of the following analogy provided by Frithjof Bergmann to make this interpretation of Nietzsche clear.[17] On any given map there is represented a series of data representing a landscape of some sort. Depending on the concernful perspective which gives the map its meaning (is it for navigation? for finding treasure? is it a map of geological phenomena?) certain elements of the world become salient and are represented on the map. If you want to get from Leeds to London the same map a geologist might use to predict the whereabouts of a given mineral won’t be of use. You need a map with roads on it, not geological formations. The roads and geological formations are both there in the world, though not always represented on the same map, maps being as they are informed by a set of active concerns (what the map is for).

So it is with interpretation, certain aspects of the world become salient relative to one’s concernful perspective. There are infinitely various elements we can include on a map, though only a few of those are relevant to our concerns. The possibility remains that some maps are false in that they do not describe the landscape at all. Critically, as Christopher Janaway points out, the idea of an “absolute” map which excluded nothing is absurd, yet, contra the RV, it doesn’t follow that the maps we do have don’t describe the world in any way.[18]

Now, it would be hasty to call this matter settled though we have at least now provided sufficient textual evidence to demonstrate the plausibility of Leiter’s claim against the RV. It seems like Nietzsche does value certain interpretations over others, and that he does so on epistemic grounds. But in order to get clearer on what Nietzsche actually means by “interpretation” and how he imagines a perspective we will look at the example of science to which he devotes a considerable amount of time to in the GM. We’ll see what he has to say about the perspective from which science emerges and then trace the type of interpretation such a perspective gives rise to.

Nietzsche claims that there is no such thing as a science without presuppositions[19] and controversially accuses science of being supported by a mode of the ascetic denial of sensuality.[20] He holds that scientists are moved by a will to conceal their suffering which emerges “from a lack of any great love”. He describes them as “insensate men who fear one thing only: being brought to consciousnes..."[21] This ascetic basis results in the scientific emphasis on disinterested contemplation, something which Nietzsche himself rejects.[22] There are obvious affinities here between the suffering of the scientist from a lack of ideals and the suffering of the poorly-constituted, treated in GM II, both of whom, for Nietzsche, seek refuge in the denial of sensuality[23] and the denial of their perspectival characters.[24]

Now, Leiter quotes Nietzsche as saying that the physicist’s interpretation of the world is a “perversion of meaning” and a “bad mode of interpretation".[25] In GM I Nietzsche presents his initial comments on the character of the scientist. The “English Psychologists” mentioned here seek the driving force of human life “in the very place the intellectual pride of man would least wish to find it” – in a “blind arbitrariness of a mechanistic chain of ideas” or “in something purely passive, automatic, reflex-like, molecular, and fundamentally stupid".[26] In a late notebook entry Nietzsche openly challenges the mechanistic notion that calculability grants comprehension, and taking the example of a piece of music he asks how much has been understood when its calculable aspects are translated into the formalism of mathematics.[27]

Nietzsche’s dim view of scientific reductionism is obvious, but crucially (and in line with Leiter’s interpretation) he does not insist that the interpretation offered by scientists is untrue. In fact, Nietzsche asserts that there remain a lot of useful things for science to pursue, and even remarks that the work of scientists brings him pleasure.[28] His repeated emphasis on physiology too reveals his support of science, however ambivalent that support may be - so why it that the physicist’s mechanistic view is a bad mode of interpretation?

Nietzsche’s selection of a piece of music to demonstrate the wrongs of reductionism is incredibly astute. Quite clearly, when one reduces a piece of music down to its calculable formal aspects much of the piece is stripped away. Merely considering a list of calculable facts is an entirely different manner of approach to listening to the music and being moved by it. What is reduced in a mechanistic interpretation is the character of a thing as it is when it’s experienced. What makes his example so clever is that music has an essentially affective import so that science’s “cooling of the feelings"[29] is made particularly obvious when given in contrast to it.

It might be true that a piece of music has this or that calculable structure[30] but it is simply erroneous to imagine this disinterested perspective as the only or most fundamental way of understanding the music. One way of discovering things about the piece is to listen to it and be involved with it first-hand, it is quite another to reduce it to its formal calculable elements for the sake of study. We’re already familiar with Nietzsche’s strong emphasis on first-hand phenomenal experience. However, what might seem a strange is that he seems to be referring to something other than science when he gives deference to phenomenal experience. In fact he even goes so far as to say that science concerns itself with a world other than the phenomenal world.[31] Indeed the object of physics is no longer even the object of experience considered in its primary qualities but the ideal formalism of mathematics.[32]

What the foregoing demonstrates is how a perspective, a will, effects an interpretation of the world. If Nietzsche’s analysis of the character of the scientist is correct, science’s inclination towards discovering facts of a certain formal, ideal character by means of disinterested contemplation emerges from a denial of sensuality. What thus becomes salient in this interpretation of the world are precisely those sorts of facts, and affectivity, sensuality, and so on are demoted to a lower rank ontologically.

- Jordan Adshead (February 2012)


Heidegger, M. (2009). The Question Concerning Technology. In M. Heidegger, Basic Writings (pp. 307-343). Routledge.

Janaway, C. (2007). Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy. Oxford University Press.

Leiter, B. (1994). Perspectivism in Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals. In R. Schacht, Nietzsche, Genealogy, Morality (pp. 334-357). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Nietzsche, F. (1968). The Will To Power. Vintage Books.

Nietzsche, F. (2003). Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ. Penguin Books.

Nietzsche, F. (2008). On The Genealogy of Morals. Oxford University Press.

[1] Leiter (1994), p. 334

[2] GM III, 12

[3] GM III, 24

[4] WP 481

[5] Leiter (1994), pp. 336-338

[6] GM I, 17

[7] GM III, 15

[8] GM III, 16

[9] TI VI, 1

[10] TI VI, 6 (emphasis added)

[11] TI VI, 2

[12] TI VI, 6

[13] WP 600

[14] The Anti-Christ (‘A’), 15

[15] TI III, 6

[16] TI IV

[17] Leiter (1994), p. 356

[18] Janaway (2007), p. 204

[19] GM III, 24

[20] Ibid.

[21] GM III, 23

[22] GM III, 12

[23] GM III, 25

[24] GM III, 24

[25] Beyond Good and Evil (‘BGE’), 22

[26] GM I, 1

[27] WP 624

[28] GM III, 23

[29] GM III, 25

[30] In Bergmann’s terms, it is an aspect owning the possibility of being represented on a ‘map’, but it is not an absolutely complete map in itself.

[31] GM III, 24

[32] Heidegger (2009), pp. 326-328

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Existence & Computational Creativity

In this paper we are going to be looking at computational models of creativity. Computational models are generally applied in two different projects, in understanding human creativity and in producing machine creativity.[1] The idea that computational models can take us some way towards explaining human artistic creativity is not uncontroversial. In this paper I will be looking at reasons to think that computational models are inadequate to map what is essential to artistic creativity but that they have important explanatory value nonetheless.

Before we can begin a definition of creativity will be necessary. There is broad consensus in the field on two necessary conditions of creativity which is thus defined as a faculty for producing (1) original and (2) valuable things.[2] So with a rough idea of the minimal basis for creativity we can better see what forms creativity can take. Margaret Boden identifies three such modes; combinational, exploratory, and transformational.[3] Combinational creativity involves making original and valuable connections between things which haven’t been made before, as with metaphor or analogy. The exploratory and transformational forms require more elaboration.

In order to understand what exploratory and transformational creativity are we have to first know what a conceptual space is. Boden characterises a conceptual space as a “structured style of thought” which does not originate in the individual’s mind but is rather picked up from their cultural or extra-cultural environment.[4] To take a modern example, dubstep music focuses on syncopated rhythm structures, sub-bass frequencies, minimalism, little or no vocals, and largely minor key melodies. These sensibilities constitute the “conceptual space” within which the music is created. The creation of a dubstep track constitutes exploratory creativity, i.e. the creation of new things from within the conceptual space which exhibit its general sensibilities.

However, this conceptual space wasn’t simply “given” - it had to have come from somewhere. Around the late 90’s the then popular 2-step garage began to transform into “dark garage” and then into what became known as dubstep. The syncopated rhythm structures of 2-step were assumed and coupled with elements from dub music, resulting in a focus on sub-bass, lack of vocals, and minimalism (hence the name “dubstep”). This constitutes transformational creativity as the conceptual space itself is transformed opening up the possibility of creating music within a new space under new sensibilities, music which could not have been created before the transformation.

Boden’s claim that exploratory-transformational creativity (henceforth “ET-creativity”) is measured according to a conceptual space gives us a great way of evaluating a given non-combinational creative act. The above example shows that her model of ET-creativity can successfully be applied to at least some real world cases, and we can easily imagine others to which it would fit. Furthermore, combination and the exploration/transformation of conceptual spaces can be mapped by computational models, a fact which gives Boden reason to think that such models are able to help us explain creativity. Many attempts have been made to create computer programs which help us understand creativity and a few are even able to demonstrate some form of transformational creativity.[5]

In the following I will present reasons to think that computational models may not be able to help us adequately understand creativity and certainly not to emulate it, but I do not mean to claim that computer programs can’t model any aspect of creativity at all. Insofar as certain parts of the creative process involve deduction, the use of heuristics, and other computable operations it would be a mistake to insist that computer models can’t map these aspects of creativity. The claim is simply that what is essential to artistic creativity may not exhibit a formal computational structure.

Now, an additional condition of creativity offered by Berys Gaut is that a creative act must demonstrate understanding. The intuition is that if an act did not emerge from deliberate intentionality then that act cannot be called creative. Gaut’s example is of tectonic forces creating diamonds, a case which clearly satisfies the originality and value clauses but which we’re reluctant to call a creative act.[6] We hesitate to call this creative because it doesn’t involve agency, but as Gaut points out not just any old type of agency will do. If we were to spill paints on a canvas accidentally and it resulted in a nice looking piece we still wouldn’t think of it as a creative act as it did not involve the deliberate application of skill.[7] If it turns out that computer programs cannot understand the ends to which they are set, on Gaut’s definition they cannot be said to be creative. But this only suggests that computer programs can’t truly emulate artistic creativity - the question remains as to whether they can at least help us explain creativity in some way.

An account of human intelligence offered by Hubert Dreyfus claims that our ability to understand things depends upon our concernful, active way of existing.[8] Dreyfus became infamous in 1964 for predicting that computer programs attempting to create machine intelligence would run into trouble when they tried to represent more intuitive forms of understanding.[9] Around the mid 1970’s difficulties encountered by information processing computer models led AI researchers to believe that our cognitive information processing capacities in fact operate upon such an intuitive background understanding, a predicament which became known as the “common sense knowledge problem".[10]

The goal, then, was to represent this common sense understanding in a computer model. When the task of representing the whole of common sense knowledge began to look overbearing, AI researchers created something called a “micro-world” to make the task more manageable.[11] A micro-world is an isolated aspect of human discourse, like being able to understand a story, follow instructions for moving blocks, or indeed be creative. The assumption behind micro-worlds is that fewer common sense primitives will be required in order to generate results, given that we’re only emulating one aspect of human discourse at a time. Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert consider the common sense primitives a computational model would need to understand a simple natural language statement offering a trade. The list includes temporal categories (to grasp that you have an item presently and in future may have another in exchange for it), values (to grasp that the item you have may be better, worse, or equal in value to the item exchanged), and so on.[12]

The idea of a micro-world proceeds from a controversial philosophical assumption – that you can create human intelligence by working on each human capacity separately and that in doing so you will eventually converge on a set of computable primitives which account for all aspects of common sense.[13] Furthermore, the claim that humans represent common sense understanding by means of cognition is also a controversial assumption and stands in need of justification.

Boden’s insistence upon exploring or transforming a conceptual space reveals her emphasis on our “higher” cognitive capacities, but in order to behold a concept one must first have initially grasped something as what it is. Martin Heidegger, the source of much of Dreyfus’ claim, argued that lived experience must necessarily precede the having of knowledge.[14] What this implies is that having concepts must first be preceded by a concernful engagement with the world in order that a given phenomenon can be understood as something and thus rendered as a concept a posteriori. Once a mountain is grasped as a mountain and gold grasped as gold we can imagine Hume’s golden mountain. So how do we understand our sense impressions and secure our perception of a thing as a thing?

One of Kant’s lasting contributions to philosophy was in raising the issue that direct intelligibility of the sensory manifold is problematic and that we stand in need of an explanation as to how sense impressions are intelligible to us at all. Kant himself sourced intelligibility in his categories of the understanding, thereby subjectivising the source of intelligibility and emphasising the role of separate individuals in its accomplishment. When this problem landed on Heidegger’s desk he sourced intelligibility in what he called “the world”. The world in Heideggerian terminology denotes a publically shared nexus of concernful activity signifying equipment, people, the natural world, etc. which hangs together through the pursuit of possibilities.[15]

Only within “the world” can something demonstrate itself as what it is. To make this clear consider again the notion of trade then imagine two instances of a person handing something to someone. As far as raw sense impressions are concerned the situations could be identical, but imagine that in one a debt is being repaid and in another an item is being given to someone as a gift. The situations mean different things with respect to the purposive involvements of each person and are in fact only discriminable through common sense familiarity with such customs (the sense impressions themselves can’t get us this far as both situations look the same). Heidegger would insist that we can only understand the difference between the two cases by being a purposive being oneself and thereby being able to understand the different ends involved.[16] Both are possible ends human beings can pursue and so bringing a pre-conceptual grasp of such ends to bear on our sense experience actually renders it intelligible.

If the foregoing is correct, our everyday common sense understanding of the world must precede cognition. If there wasn’t this original phenomenological encounter, along with the way of being which renders things initially intelligible, our conceptual information processing capacities would have nothing on which to operate. Our problem is that a human being has to program computational models[17] with a conceptual representation of this kind of background understanding in order to get them to perform in creative micro-worlds. If Dreyfus is right, human beings do not have to be programmed in this way but rather already have such common sense understanding as the simple result of our being what we are.

Computer programs model our capacities separately when what seems to be most interesting about them is their fundamental inseparability. Dreyfus’ point is that a given feature of human existence like creativity can’t be considered in isolation from the rest of our concernful activity, customs, and practices. Our capacities do not stand as a composite of isolated skills but are rather related to one another as aspects of the same holistic phenomenon rendered possible by the active, engaged kind of being[18] as which human beings exist. Computational creativity therefore suffers from the common sense knowledge problem as much as any micro-world.

To make this explicit consider Picasso’s Guernica, a painting about the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. In order to create such a work in a deliberate, intentional manner Picasso must first have been able to grasp the significance of such an historic event. One would have to have this kind of common sense understanding for war to demonstrate its character as horrifying or lamentable or even triumphal, as the case may be. Similarly to grasp Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain one needs to be familiar with the customs and practices of the art world to appreciate how it stands out as a curiosity (again, raw sense impressions cannot convey this – it looks like any other urinal).

Boden actually anticipates that creativity is in part a socially integrated affair but nevertheless insists that computer models can tell us about how creativity emerges in individuals.[19] However, it is the initial having of a conceptual space which is the real mystery of creativity and not the calculative procedures which one may follow whilst already in such a space. The “magic” of creativity is still being performed by human beings with computational models simply able to follow out any residual deductive or heuristic procedures. Even the impressive transformational models Boden mentions, such as EURISKO and AM, presuppose a large degree of human involvement. Douglas Lenat himself admits that concepts given in the LISP programming language and even human guidance in problem solving are partly responsible for their success.[20] So long as computational models of creativity have their common sense background represented ‘conceptually’ in isolated micro-worlds they cannot get us to the heart of what is most curious about artistic creativity - that it emerges from an inseparable connection with the wider phenomenon of human existence.

Boden has said that the aim of computational models is to help us understand creativity, even if that means by falsification.[22] To this extent the successes and failures of computational models do in fact help us to explain creativity. Even if they cannot at present represent what is most significant about artistic creation these models nevertheless allow us to see whether or not creativity is computational in part or as a whole and so in this respect they have significant explanatory value.

- Jordan Adshead (January 2012)


Boden, M. A. (1999). Computer Models of Creativity. In R. J. Sternberg, Handbook of Creativity (pp. 351-372). Cambridge University Press.

Boden, M. A. (2004). The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms (Second Edition). Routledge.

Dreyfus, H. (1992). What Computers Still Can't Do. The MIT Press.

Dreyfus, H., & Dreyfus, S. (1987). Mind Over Machine. The Free Press.

Gaut, B. (2010). The Philosophy of Creativity. Philosophy Compass, 5, (12), 1034-1046.

Heidegger, M. (2010). Being and Time. SUNY.

Lenat, D., & Brown, J. S. (1983). Why AM and EURISKO Appear to Work. Proceedings of AAAI, (pp. 236-240).

[1] Boden (2004), p. 1

[2] Gaut (2010), p. 1040

[3] Boden (2004), p. 3

[4] Ibid. p. 4

[5] Boden (1999), pp. 365-368

[6] Gaut (2010), p. 1040

[7] Ibid, p. 1040

[8] Dreyfus (1992), pp. 285-305

[9] Dreyfus & Dreyfus (1988), p. 7

[10] Ibid, p. 68

[11] Ibid, p. 72

[12] Ibid, p. 74

[13] Ibid, p. 74

[14] Heidegger (2010), pp. 59-62

[15] It’s important to make explicit that Heidegger doesn’t imagine the world as an exhaustive list of all objectively present beings as one might ordinarily imagine, but rather imagines activities, moods, capacities, and so on as a part of the world too, things which cannot be understood with regard to objective presence.

[16] Ibid, pp. 81-87

[17] Boden (1999), p. 353

[18] Being in the active sense, i.e. be-ing, like mov-ing, or walk-ing. Not to be confused with being in the sense of a being.

[19] Ibid, p. 352

[20] Lenat & Brown (1983), pp. 236-240

[21] Boden (1999), p. 353