Creativity and Everyday Life — Ricoeur’s Aesthetics

  • Robert D. Sweeney
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 67)


Theories of creativity have very often stressed innovation or novelty to the point where it transcends the life-situations of the artist — that is, what we can call everyday life1 — and, a fortiori, of the non-artistic person. Indeed, creativity has often been held to require inspiration or a kind of genius that transcends normal mental functioning such as that of the rhapsode in Plato’s Ion, for example.2 Such emphasis on genius as inspiration is, of course, in more modern times associated primarily with romanticism, but it might well have its ultimate source in the famous phrase of the Latinate theological interpretation of the Book of Genesis, creatio ex nihilo. And we can certainly think of splendid examples of precocious creativity in this sense - Mozart comes to mind readily, but so also (especially here in his homeland) Frederick Chopin. But even here, not everything touched by these men is golden; and, in any case, much else is involved in the creation of a work of art. To quote an American sage: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”


Aesthetic Experience Representative Function Reflective Judgment Aesthetic Theory Secular Representation 
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  1. 1.
    The expression “everyday life” is necessarily vague. As the sum of a person’s “life-situations, “ it is part (a subset) of, hence not to be equated with the “world” or “life-world”-both of which express the notion of an overarching systematic context which includes both the actualities of memory and the possibilities of imagination. For Ricoeu’s treatment of “world,” see below.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See pp. 533-535.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Basic Writings (ed. D. Krell), (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), pp. 144–187.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Paul Ricoeur, Conflict of Interpretations (ed. D. Ihde) (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974), pp. 79–96.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Paul Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor, Multi-Disciplinary Studies of the Creation of Meaning in Language (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977), passim, especially Study 5, “Metaphor and the New Rhetoric.”Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paul Ricoeur, “Narrated Time,” Philosophy Today 29 (1985), No. 4/4, pp. 259–272.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative (3 volumes), (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984, 1985, 1986).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Paul Ricoeur, La Critique et la Conviction (Interviews with F. Azouvi and M. De Launay), (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1995), pp. 257–278. Subsequent numbers in parentheses refer to pages in this text.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    For a discussion of this aspect of the work of van Mechenem, see Diane Scillia, “Israhel van Meckenem’s Marriage a la Mode: The Alltagsleben), in Edelbgard DuBruck (ed.), Mediaeval Studies, Vol. 1, 1989 (Lampeter: The Edward Mellen Press), pp. 207–220. See also her essay in this volume, “Stimuli to Invention: New Technologies, New Audiences, New Images.”Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York: Crossroad, 1989).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Roman Ingarden, e.g., The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, “Imaginatio Creatrix”, in Analecta Husserliana, Volume III (A-T. Tymieniecka, ed.), (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1974), pp. 3–41.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 14.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cf. Paul Ricoeur, Freedom and Nature (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1966).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    E.g., in terms of the plot, Aristotle’s stress on universality as found in Ricoeur’s Time and Narrative, Volume 1, p. 170.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    E.g., in Oneself as Another (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), fn., pp. 289–290.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Sweeney
    • 1
  1. 1.John Carroll UniversityUSA

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