What makes the distinctively-human degree of creativity possible? And how did our creative capacity evolve? These are the two main questions to which I propose to sketch answers in this paper. To elaborate on them a little (in reverse order): Is our creativity a mere by-product of other selected-for traits (such as our language-capacity, or bigger brains)? Or was it selected for in its own right? And either way, what are its cognitive pre-requisites? That is to say, what had to be in place within our cognition initially, which either provided the sufficient conditions for our greatly enhanced creativity to make its appearance, or which supplied the background against which some sort of disposition to engage in creative activities could emerge or get selected for?

I should emphasize that I only propose to sketch answers to these questions in what follows, and to provide inconclusive¾but I hope plausible and suggestive¾arguments in support of those answers. In an interdisciplinary and wide-ranging paper of this sort, it won’t be possible to deal with the issues thoroughly, and much of the needed evidence is in any case lacking. My hope is to sketch out a framework for further enquiry, and to render it just plausible enough to encourage others to pursue these questions and to seek some of the necessary evidence from the standpoint of their own interdisciplinary perspectives.


The Creative Cognition Approach
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