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(2014) Neuroscience, neurophilosophy and pragmatism, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Finding unapparent connections

how our hominin ancestors evolved creativity by solving practical problems

Robert Arp

pp. 165-184

John Dewey and other noted pragmatists of his time utilized evolutionary insights to inform the "lived experience" of human psychology which included responding to one's environment in novel ways. Dewey speaks of "finding unapparent connections' to be an important human mental ability that is at times utilized for solving problems. In this chapter, I argue that the lived, practical experiences of our hominin ancestors occasioned the emergence of an ability to solve problems creatively, in a way unique among primate species. Specifically, in this chapter I first present the ideas and arguments put forward by evolutionary psychologists that our hominin ancestors evolved certain capacities to solve nonroutine, vision-related problems creatively. I then argue that scenario visualization — namely, a mental activity whereby visual images are selected, integrated, and then transformed and projected into visual scenarios for the purposes of solving problems in the environments in which one inhabits — emerged in our hominin past and accounts for certain kinds of vision-related creativity. The kinds of problems with which our hominin ancestors were confronted most likely were of the practical, spatial-relation and depth-relation types, so the capacity to scenario visualize would have been useful for their survival. Thus, scenario visualization has been and still continues to be relevant for vision-related forms of creative problem solving.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137376077_8

Full citation:

Arp, R. (2014)., Finding unapparent connections: how our hominin ancestors evolved creativity by solving practical problems, in T. Solymosi & J. Shook (eds.), Neuroscience, neurophilosophy and pragmatism, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 165-184.

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