Situated Mind and Artistic Creativity (SMAC)

Main funder

Funder's project number355799

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 432 347,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/09/2023

Project end date31/08/2027


The aim of the project is to produce an integrated and extensive conceptual account of the situated nature of artistic creativity. Here ‘situatedness’ means that our mental activities are fundamentally dependent on the environments in which they occur. This principle challenges the widespread view that cognitions, emotions, and perceptions are ultimately explainable in terms of corporeally encapsulated processes, especially those taking place in the brain alone. Yet this is precisely the kind of internalist bias that still underlies significant areas of creativity research. Either explicitly or implicitly, it is assumed that the mental capacities key to creativity can be sufficiently explained by properties or events that are discoverable, in some form or another, within the creative agent’s bodily boundaries. This view is problematic because it unjustifiably isolates brain and body from the world and consequently leads us to neglect crucial extra-bodily elements of creative mentation. The situated account developed in this project will strengthen the case against internalism and provide a more accurate picture of artistic creativity.

Thus, by utilizing theories, conceptualizations, and findings from several disciplines, and by subjecting these to critical philosophical scrutiny, the project will (i) establish and articulate the fundamentally situated nature of creativity, (ii) investigate the factors and mechanisms involved in the brain-body-world networks that underlie creative mentation, and (iii) analyze specific cases of artmaking from the proposed perspective. Fulfilling these aims will produce a new conceptual framework which, compared to existing accounts, allows for a much more accurate and comprehensive grasp of the creative mind. This is a significant achievement, for as long as the situatedness of creative mentation is disregarded, not only will our understanding of artistic creativity fall short but our overall conception of what minds are and how they function will also remain misguided.

The project is philosophical and therefore does not use research data as such. The materials used to develop the new account of creativity consist of both theoretical and empirical knowledge from philosophy of mind and creativity research. The methods are the standard philosophical methods of conceptual analysis and argumentation. By developing and applying niche construction theory in original ways, the project will have a major impact on philosophical discussions about the situated mind. It will also contribute to both theoretical and empirical creativity research by forging new conceptual tools with which to investigate artistic creativity.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

Follow-up groups

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2024-29-05 at 10:50