The Philosophy of Creativity

Course summary

The Philosophy of Creativity


What IS creativity? There are several different conceptions of it, and we will consider some of these during these lectures. We will discuss the role that personal character (motivation, emotion, and attitude) plays in human creativity, and whether curiosity, driven-ness, resilience and the ability to embrace risk are concomitant with creativity, and if so why. We will also consider the supposed failings of the creative character. Are creative people cocky, vain, dismissive and stubborn? If so must they be? Creativity is often linked to the arts. The role played by creativity in logic, mathematics and philosophy has been especially poorly appreciated. We hope to correct this and will reflect on the role played in these disciplines by conceptual creativity.

Programme details


2.45pm Course Registration

3.00pm Conceptions and creativity

4.30pm Tea / coffee

5.00pm Human creativity and character

6.30pm Break / bar open

7.00pm Dinner

8.15pm- Creativity in logic, mathematics and philosophy


8.15am Breakfast (residents only)

9.30am Creative failings?

10.45am Coffee / tea

11.15am Q & A
Questions directed by MARIANNE TALBOT

12.30pm Break / bar open

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Course disperses

Recommended reading

Bardsley, K., D. Dutton and M. Krausz, eds., The Idea of Creativity (Brill, 2009).
Beaney, M., Imagination and Creativity (Open University, 2005), chs. 6-7
Boden, M., ed., Dimensions of Creativity (MIT, 1996), ch. 4
Boden, M., The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2004)
Boden, M., Creativity and Art (OUP, 2010), ch. 2
Gaut, B. and Livingston, P., eds., The Creation of Art: New Essays in Philosophical Aesthetics (CUP, 2003), chs. 6-7
Paul, E. S. and S. B. Kaufman, eds., The Philosophy of Creativity (OUP, 2014) especially chapter 6 (Kieran, M., ‘Creativity as a Virtue of Character’) shorter version available here:


Accommodation for this weekend is at Rewley House for Saturday night only.
Depending on availability it may also be possible to extend your stay, please enquire at the time of booking for availability and prices.
All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.
Unfortunately it is not yet possible to book twin room accommodation online, so if you wish to book a twin room, please send in your completed enrolment form or contact the Day & Weekend Events Office, Email:; Telephone: + 44 (0) 1865 270380 / 270368.


includes coffee/tea: £76.50
Single B&B Saturday: £72.60
Single Room Only Saturday: £62.00
Twin B&B Saturday (per person): £52.10


If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Ms Marianne Talbot

Director of Studies

Marianne Talbot B.A., B.Phil., has been Director of Studies in Philosophy at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education since 2001. She has written several of Oxford’s popular short online courses on Philosophy, and her podcasts (notably on critical reasoning) have been downloaded over 5 million times. Marianne specialises in logic, ethics and the philosophy of mind. The topic of knowledge is her particular current interest.  


Professor Michael Beaney


Michael Beaney, is Professor of the History of Analytic Philosophy at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London. He is the author of Frege: Making Sense (1996), Imagination and Creativity (2005), and Analytic Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, forthcoming). He is editor of The Frege Reader (1997), Gottlob Frege: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers (with Erich Reck; 4 vols., 2005), The Analytic Turn (2007), and The Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy (2013). He is also editor of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy and general editor of a series on the history of analytic philosophy published by Palgrave Macmillan. His research interests include creativity in mathematics, logic and philosophy, the relationship between analysis and creativity, as well as the history of analytic philosophy generally.

Professor Matthew Kieran


Matthew Kieran, is Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at the University of Leeds. Matthew is currently writing a book on creativity and his past publications include Revealing Art (Routledge 2005) and co-edited collections such as Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind (Oxford University Press 2014) and Philosophical Aesthetics and the Sciences of Art (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Matthew regularly speaks at international conferences, public events and sometimes appears in the media.