Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 105–126 | Cite as

Toward a transcendental account of creativity. Kant and Merleau-Ponty on the creative power of judgment and creativity as institution

  • Michela SummaEmail author


Several works published in the last decades defend the claim that the concept of creativity should be demystified. With the aim of showing that creativity is not an obscure power owned by only few individuals and free from constraints, authors working at the intersection field between philosophy and cognitive science have notably focused on the structure and evolution of cognitive mechanisms underlying our creative capacities. While taking up the suggestion that we should try not to mystify creativity, this article argues that what is required for such demystification is primarily a transcendental and phenomenological inquiry. Kant’s and Merleau-Ponty’s works are here discussed in order to develop such a transcendental inquiry into creativity. Both Kant and Merleau-Ponty bring to the fore the conditions of possibility for creative acts, and highlight fundamental role of creativity itself in the formation of meaningfulness. The keystone of both philosophers’ inquiries is the emphasis on the interdependence between creativity and rules. Yet, due to the different approaches to the transcendental, Kant’s and Merleau-Ponty’s accounts do not fully converge, but should rather be considered as complementary.


Creativity Judgment Innovation Exemplaryness Rule Institution 



I wish to thank Andrea Altobrando, Serena Feloj, Stefan Kristensen, and Karl Mertens for their thoughtful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität Würzburg, Institut für PhilosophieWürzburgGermany

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