Mixed motivations: Creativity as a virtue

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The thought that creativity is a kind of virtue is an attractive one. Virtues are valuable traits that are praised and admired, and creativity is a widely celebrated trait in our society. In philosophical ethics, epistemology, and increasingly aesthetics, virtue-theoretical approaches are influential, so an account of creativity as a virtue can draw on well-established theories. Several philosophers, including Linda Zagzebski, Christine Swanton and Matthew Kieran, have argued for the claim that creativity is a virtue, locating this claim within a broader picture of intellectual, ethical and aesthetic virtues respectively. Moreover, a prominent research programme in psychology, led by Teresa Amabile, holds that people have an intrinsic motivation when they are creative, and this seems seamlessly to fit with the view that creativity is a virtue, for it is often held that a requirement for a trait to be a virtue is that the virtuous agent acts from an intrinsic motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-202
Number of pages20
JournalRoyal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
Early online date3 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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