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Hardcover | $36.00 Short | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262014922 | 328 pp. | 6 x 9 in | December 2010
Paperback | $24.95 Trade | £17.95 | ISBN: 9780262518758 | 328 pp. | 6 x 9 in | February 2013

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Modes of Creativity

Philosophical Perspectives


In this philosophical exploration of creativity, Irving Singer describes the many different types of creativity and their varied manifestations within and across all the arts and sciences. Singer’s approach is pluralistic rather than abstract or dogmatic. His reflections amplify recent discoveries in cognitive science and neurobiology by aligning them with the aesthetic, affective, and phenomenological framework of experience and behavior that characterizes the human quest for meaning.

Creativity has long fascinated Singer, and in Modes of Creativity he carries forward investigations begun in earlier works. Marshaling a wealth of examples and anecdotes ranging from antiquity to the present, about persons as diverse as Einstein and Sherlock Holmes, Singer describes the interactions of the creative and the imaginative, the inventive, the novel, and the original. He maintains that our preoccupation with creativity devolves from biological, psychological, and social bases of our material being; that creativity is not limited to any single aspect of human existence but rather inheres not only in art and the aesthetic but also in science, technology, moral practice, as well as ordinary daily experience.

About the Author

Irving Singer is Professor of Philosophy at MIT. In addition to his two trilogies, The Nature of Love and Meaning in Life, he is the author of many other books, including the recent Philosophy of Love: A Partial Summing-Up, and four books on film aesthetics, Reality Transformed: Film as Meaning and Technique; Three Philosophical Filmmakers: Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir; Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic Philosopher: Reflections on His Creativity; and Cinematic Mythmaking: Philosophy in Film, all published by the MIT Press.


"The writing in this book is classic Singer: gracefully urbane, informed, insightful, and easily at home with the whole Western tradition in philosophy. His book is oriented in a genuinely open way to anyone interested in the subject of imagination and creativity. Readers will welcome its wholesome sunlit sanity amid the fogs and miasmas of postmodernism."
Thomas Alexander, Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

"Singer has investigated a wide variety of topics over his long and productive academic career. Despite this variety, however, there has been a single-minded tenacity to his work as he focuses on a common theme: human creativity. In this excellent new work, Singer tackles this difficult notion with his usual aplomb. It was a joy to read."
Scott Stewart, Professor of Philosophy, Cape Breton University

"This book is vintage Singer: thoughtful, well informed, sensitive, and sensible. It rewards the reader with a host of good ideas."
John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, and author of The Relevance of Philosophy to Life