McKinlay, Andrew Joseph
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This thesis is about the agency involved with creativity. I am concerned particularly with the process of Insight Based Problem Solving (IBPS). IBPS is a problem solving process that is associated with a particular phenomenal experience, of sudden enlightenment, where new content arrives when the individual problem solver is not intentionally considering the problem at hand. The moment of insight is intuitively involuntary and as I argue for in chapter 1, is not successfully incorporated into any current account of creative agency. In chapter 2 I examine the scientific credibility of the process of IBPS. With such an account in hand I turn to the question of whether the process of IBPs is agentive. In chapter 3 I examine whether IBPS can be understood in terms of intentional action. In chapter 4 I examine whether we can be morally responsible for the products of IBPS based on previous mental actions. Neither of these approaches provides a satisfactory account of agency for IBPS because neither gives us a claim of moral responsibility for the specific products of IBPS. In chapter 5 I present a new positive account of the personal activity of IBPS. I argue that the moment of insight itself is a deliberative judgement that the content that is being brought to mind answers the question at hand. This new understanding of IBPS has implications for our understanding of mental agency, and the agentive nature of creativity.