Moral creativity : exploration and experiment in moral life
In this dissertation, I offer a moral-philosophical exploration of moral creativity. In the first part, I characterize moral creativity as a significant moral phenomenon where individuals or groups (aim to) morally improve particular situations in innovative ways. I analyze examples of moral creativity and compare them with characterizations of creativity and moral creativity in the philosophical creativity debate. This comparison most notably concentrates on the common characterization of creative products or acts as ‘novel’ and ‘valuable’. I characterize the moral creativity that is demonstrated by my core examples as typically innovative and valuable. Such moral creativity brings spontaneous, unfamiliar solutions that actualize contextual moral improvement. After elaborating on this characterization, I clarify that it is not intended as a strict definition to which each case of moral creativity must answer but as a guideline that can help to provide and interpret phenomenologically accurate descriptions of moral creativity. In part two, I define moral creativity as imagination-in-action that has inner and overt variants. I come to this description by discussing two pioneering models of moral imagination in relation to contextually innovative moral creativity. The first model is Iris Murdoch’s model of moral imagination. I argue that this model regards moral imagination as an imaginative apprehension of reality, by which we improve our understanding of reality by imaginatively exploring it. The second model is John Dewey’s model of moral imagination. Dewey regards imagination as a phase of action in which we search solutions for practical problems and challenges. I argue that Murdoch’s model shows the inner-explorative way imagination is part of the morally creative process, while Dewey model illustrates the outer-experimental variant. I consider these two models complementary in a balanced and truthful philosophical reflection of moral creativity. In part three, I examine whether moral creativity can be considered a perfectible skill or virtue by setting up a dialogue between Murdoch and Dewey’s thought. I first compare Murdoch and Dewey’s ideas on experience and experiential knowledge. I argue that skills and virtues can play a role in moral creativity but that moral creativity as such is no mere skill or virtue. I suggest that when we call someone ‘creative’, we primarily refer to the contextually innovative imagination-in-action and only in a secondary sense to the agent’s character. Therefore, I defend a contextual approach to moral creativity. Such an approach does not reduce creativity to an individual’s character and acts but regards creativity as a broader phenomenon that fundamentally depends on many contextual factors.
Antwerpen : Universiteit Antwerpen, Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Departement Wijsbegeerte , 2023
216 p.
Supervisor: Schaubroeck, Katrien [Supervisor]
Supervisor: Mesel, De, Benjamin [Supervisor]
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Creation 10.01.2024
Last edited 13.01.2024
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