Human Creativity: Its Evolution, its Cognitive Basis, and its Connections with Childhood Pretence
Peter Carruthers. "Human Creativity: Its Evolution, its Cognitive Basis, and its Connections with Childhood Pretence," The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2002 53(2):225-249.
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This paper defends two initial claims. First, it argues that essentially the same cognitive resources are shared by adult creative thinking and problem-solving, on the one hand, and by childhood pretend play, on the other namely, capacities to generate and to reason with suppositions (or imagined possibilities). Second, it argues that the evolutionary function of childhood pretence is to practice and enhance adult forms of creativity. The paper goes on to show how these proposals can provide a smooth and evolutionarily-plausible explanation of the gap between the first appearance of our species in Southern Africa some 100,000 years ago, and the ‘creative explosion’ of cultural, technological and artistic change which took place within dispersed human populations some 60,000 years later. The intention of the paper is to sketch a proposal which might serve as a guide for future interdisciplinary research.