Main theories of Creativity

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Philosophical and psychological
theories of creativity

Metaphysical and topological dimensions of creativity

Understanding of the phenomenon and the intrinsic nature of creativity requires the utmost  opening of the semantic contexts, radical expansion of the methodological framework, finding reliable explanatory principles, based on the universal structures and laws of the world.

Empirical studies of creative activity must be accompanied by disclosure of  fundamental bases and super-experienced basic principles of  reality that define the necessary conditions, the sources and the very possibility of the existence of creativity and the creative potential of the personality.
In the broadest sense creativity is defined as the existence of an absolute, unconditional and primary essence, which is constituted and manifested by the original universals: Freedom, Possibility, Whole and Interaction.
These universals are hollow, invisible and immeasurable. They draw the coordinating framework of meaning and are universal, qualitatively unique “places”, some independent “retracting” spaces, existing under the laws of the self-generating vacuum. At the same time their architectonics can be shown and seen by the construction of the generalized topological models or “Map of Entities”.
Productivity and heuristic power of the universal “Map of Entities ” is naturally that of highlighting of empty “places” and in the prediction of possible, yet not declaring themselves, but nevertheless equal valued entities, and entire regions of living reality and, standing behind them, therefore highlights the possible trends and trajectories of development.
Supposing there are a large number of multidimensional topological models, the maximal completeness and ease of synthesis of phenomena of reality is achieved using the System Description proposed by V.A. Gansen (1984). In this system the coordinating “Pentabasis” consisting of four putting-in-rows and one unifying central concept is chosen as an organizing reference matrix.
Thus, when disclosing a higher, universal “Matrix of Entities” of creativity it is advisable to represent its fundamental dimensions in the form of the “Pentabasis”. This universal pattern consists of two interconnected pairs of primary essences “Interaction – Whole” (Being) and “Possibility – Freedom” (Nothing), which are combined, mutually coordinated and balanced by the ultimate essence, the Absolute. In addition, each phenomenon and variable of manifested creative reality should undergo the procedure of localization, chronologization and correlation with the central priming essence and with its fundamental dimensions.
In an extremely broad, metaphysical-and-topological plan creativity is understood as a way of existence and manifestation of the Absolute that is unfolded by realization of its universal dimensions or primal essences: Freedom, Possibility, Whole and Interaction.
This high transcendental flow manifests itself at a personological level as a Creative Vision. It is experienced as an internal, deeply intimate reality and objectified in the phenomenological worlds in the form of material and spiritual values.

Table 1. The Essential dimensions and universal
manifestations of creativity


Creativity as the creation
and realization of the Whole



Creativity as the creation and
realization of the Possibilities


Unfolding of the Absolute
and Creativity of Nature
Creative Perception

Creativity as the Interaction

Creativity as realization
of the Freedom
Creative Intuition

In the Table are used the paintings : Salvador Dalí, Tomek Sętowski,
Jamile Baldridge, Greg Spalenka

Ontological and universal – creative nature of the psyche

The psyche or mental organization of a human being is ontological in nature (A. Wallon and S. L. Rubinstein). At the same time it is subordinated to the space creative principle and is identical to the source of creation (S. Grof). The psychic reality is not determined by biological, sociological, personal, and even cultural determinants, and involves them into itself as a higher, already manifested and assimilated levels.

The psyche, as a reality and at the same time a reflection of reality, is holographically built into the Universe, and as a continuous, self-developing “World image” (A.N. Leontiev) is woven into the process of evolution. However, it manifests itself as a living microcosm and obeys to the most general and universal principles and laws of functioning and development of the world as a whole.
Universal structure of the psyche naturally includes the full range of consciousness manifestations, and contains unconscious and transpersonal states, as well as its pre-subject and meta-subject stages of development.
In addition, the psyche is the original, universal-and -creative nature, its productive functioning consists in building a dynamic image of the world, and its essential mechanisms are isomorphic in relation to creativity mechanisms (V.T. Kudryavtsev).
Thus, the original “Map of Entities”, constructed by dialectic bunches:  “Interaction-Whole,” “Freedom – Possibility” and integrating by the Absolute, creates and organizes the explanatory space both for philosophical theories of creativity and for those built on explanation of the such basic mental processes, as “memory – thinking,” “intuition – imagination” and  underlying them process of perceptions.

Personological dimensions of creativity

A special task is to introduce the subject to the “Map of Entities” and to identify the relationship between the man and each of the entities. The man gives them a meaning and value content, and correlates with the whole spectrum of internal needs. There are no universalities without human beings. Entities can exist only by the person. It is just like music that can not exist without a human ear, and also the sounds created from “raw” waves and vibrations can not exist without it too. Organic inclusion of a human being in the map of universal entities is realized through creativity, which, as a mode of existence of the Absolute, is the primary essence, as well as the highest forms of human life.
Creativity manifests itself as an independent effective unconditional primary essence, which defines itself, with which the reality is corresponded and which itself provides justification for the phenomenal world.
The actual content of reality – L.M. Lopatin wrote, – must be explained by its correspondence to the supreme ideal, which the absolute creative activity implements in its creation.
Creativity itself requires no reference to primary source, to any more fundamental essence or universal value.
It is itself the beginning and the center of the world and is the causa finalis, the source of all things, and the highest point of reference. Creativity supports the Universe; it is the axis around which invisible universals, all phenomenal and possible worlds turn.
N. Berdyaev (1916) has always stressed primary fundamental form and primordial character of creativity: Creative experience is not something secondary, and therefore requiring justification, creative experience is something primary and therefore justifying.
In this formulation the problem the question of the fundamental conditions of creativity loses its meaning as the creativity acquires the metaphysical absoluteness, the ontological primacy and existential self-sufficiency.
Conditions for Creativity occur within; and external and internal realities  repeatedly include each other following by special recursive causality. This type of causality is created in the flow of activity of unique creative personality.
Causality understood within, – L.M. Lopatin wrote, – is a creative act of a living creature. A reason builds and creates the effect.  The reason is a creative energy and assumes a creature who is obsessed with this energy. Causality is impossible without the creator. Creativity as the primary essence is just like the Platonic ideas about which A. Whitehead wrote- It possesses a creative power to create conditions for its own implementation.

Psychological theories of creativity

In his article “Analysis of creativity” (1961) Mel Rhodes (1961) analyzed 40 definitions of creativity and 16 definitions of imagination, and developed and proved the holistic model of creativity – 4 Ps, representing it as the interaction of 4 factors: process, product, person, and press. In his turn, Ross Mooney (1962) in his “Conceptual Model for Integrating Four Approaches to the Identification of Creative Talent,” also proposed to consider creativity through the prism of model 4 Ps (process, product, person, and environment).
Stuart E. Golann (1963) replaced the concept of environment with the notion of “place” and his theory of the 4 Ps (process, product, person, and place) became a structural basis for studying creativity. Thus, the “place” was understood as problematic or socially-organized environment. Dean K. Simonton identifying the concepts of leadership and creativity expanded the list of the organizing categories and introduced fifth P – persuasion.
Besides, Klaus Urban (2003) adds problem as a new dimension to three classic ones: process, product and person, retaining the category of environment (environment). Thus, he brings a new integrated formula for creativity: 4Ps-E.
The theory of 4Ps has been constructed on the basis of generalization of empirical experience, in strict accordance with scientific criteria and principles of evidence and rationality.
At the same time, there is another–reflexive way to investigate creativity, which consists in the original construction of its conceptual constructs and topological models giving a wider context and areas of understanding.  This model makes it possible to highlight the facts and phenomena that are inaccessible to direct observation and empirical investigation. These initial explanatory constructs are chosen arbitrarily, intuitively, by grasping the deep archetypes and universal structures of reality.
As the original semantic context you can select the individuals’ life-world, or rather a set of phenomenological worlds in which there is a free self-realization of human being and his creative dialogue with the world.
The highest possible completeness of the description of existing and possible empirical experience is achieved by its introduction to the contextual configuration of the phenomenological worlds, by building the certain topological construct – Pentabazis. This universal structure combines Objective and Symbolic, Inner and Social worlds, as well as Culture, as the center of their integration.
This Pentabasis has a powerful explanatory and heuristic potential and in a striking manner includes the basic dimensions or domains of creativity (process, product, person and environment), which were obtained empirically.
At the same time in a very broad sense creativity is presented as a holistic steady continuum, as the flow of Creative vision, which is structured by universal laws and structures. This integrated flow of vision projects itself onto the base, phenomenal worlds and manifests itself with the help of specific elements, structures, and laws of these worlds.
Creative vision is a self-contained form of activity that harmoniously includes and integrates all other forms of creativity.  So in the objective world, it appears as a Productive creative activity, in the symbolic as a Creative problem solving, in social as a Creative Dialogue and as a Creative Self-realization in the inner world.
The highest form of creativity is determined by the laws of the world of culture and manifests itself as a Creative Vision, Co-creation with the world, a creative adaptation and harmonization with the meanings and condensed senses of the Universe, as well as sense-creation (meaning creation), as the process of dredging and endowing reality with developing, creatological senses.
When coining the term  «Sense-creation», we relied on the distinction between the concepts of Sense and Meaning, that  Gottlob Frege introduced in his innovative paper “Über Sinn und Bedeutung” (1892), (“On Sense and Reference” and in later edition as “On Sense and Meaning “).
Besides, it has been taken into account that fact that Sense (as rational meaning) is not only a constituting unit of the consciousness, but rather the flow, which runs through all levels of psychic organization of a human being, as from the unconscious structures of pre-understanding, perceptual-sensory and emotional systems to the highest personal and intimate levels of comprehension, that involves a depth of experience, individual  views and even moral perception or appreciation. On the other hand if meaning of the object is defined by its objective function and essence, then sense is the result of an original vision of the object, a kind of quality specific, personal experience of the whole richness of its content.
Besides, Meaning is often identified with the linguistic meaning of the words, and in this context it is related to the understanding of the whole World as a Text. At the same time Sense is the result of the decoding of all forms of representation of information, and is born in the process of interaction of personality with all the all real phenomenological worlds and spheres of spiritual reality.
Finally, meaning (reference) is associated with the denotation or primary meaning of a word, and sense with connotation or subjective cultural and emotional association and ideas that this word invokes. Thus, Senses are directly related to creative thinking and imagination or creative vision, as they can easily be generated by concepts which have no objective meanings, such as a mythological deities or fictional characters and events.
Sense structures are the highest, nuclear, integrative-transcendent entities of personality, and the sense is equivalent to the existence of personality in the world and to the life itself. “Some called it the fourth – V.P. Zinchenko wrote, – and some called it the fifth dimension of existence. Although it should be called the first. ”
Sence-creation and comprehension of reality is the central dynamic components of the highest form of creativity – Creative vision, which involves creative activity (product), problem-solving (process), self-actualization (person) and a creative dialogue (place). In this context, for the purpose of revealing the deepest essence of creativity is useful to introduce the fifth element, a central dimension – sense (meaning), and accordingly to represent the classic model of creativity in the form of 4Ps /S (process, product, person, place, sense)*.
Creativity takes its roots in culture and human practice, in social world, in text reality and in the unique existential experience. Creativity is not only a process, ability, product, or specially organized environment but rather a universal principle, multi-dimensional dynamic space, self-sufficient generating primal essence and highest unfolded sense that manifests itself in phenomenal worlds in the form of an effective problem-solving, self-realization, productive activities and creative dialogue.

 Table 2. Forms of manifestations of Creativity
in the phenomenal worlds

Symbolic World

Creative Problem Solving

Social World


Creative Vision and Sense-creation
Sense (Meaning)

Objective  World

     Inner World

 Creative Self-actualization
In the Table are used the paintings: Esher, I. Repin, O. Roden


* Markov, S.L. (2011) Formuvannia tvorchogo bachennia osobystosti jak universalnyi metod aktivizacii tvorchosti [Formation of creative vision of an individual as the universal method of enhancing creativity]. In S.D. Maksimenko & L.M. Karamushka (Eds.), Actualni problemy psichologii. Vol 1. (pp. 374-380). Kyiv:Publishing House “A.C.K”.

Markov, S. L. (1997) Mechanisms of Creative Dialogue With the World. Paper presented at the 105th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 17, 1997. Chicago, IL.

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