Defining Creativity: A View from the Arts
Brandt, Anthony K.
Over several decades, novel-and-appropriate has become established as the standard definition of creativity; while allowing for variations in the exact wording, the requirement that creativity requires external validation of value, utility, etc. is largely unchallenged. This functions well in high consensus fields in which value can be empirically verified. However, in low consensus fields such as the arts, value judgments are subjective, controversies abound, and it can take a long time to reach agreement. As a result, novel-and-appropriate needs to be revisited as a generalized definition. In its place, a successful definition should take into account that bringing something novel to life often requires taking the initiative long before there is external judgment of value or utility and, in low consensus fields, those external judgments can be a poor barometer. Synthesizing arguments by Simonton and Weisberg, the solution is to conduct separate analyses for personal production and public reception, and to remove utility from the definition of creativity. Advantages, risks, and implications of the recommended framework are discussed.