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Creative Ventures.

Weiss seeks to clarify the distinctive nature of creativity and created work through an examination of five creative ventures: art, mathematics, a noble character, leadership, and statesmanship (p.31). Creativity, strictly interpreted, means "the production of spendors which, when well read, open one up to final conditions as pertinent to whatever there is" (p. 162). Weiss's examination differs from previous efforts in seeking to uncover "what creators presuppose and utilize, how they proceed ...[and] the nature of that with which they end" through knowing "what all the ultimate factors are and how they are and could be joined" (p. 3). The ultimate factors are identified as conditions and the Dunamis. Conditions (finalities, modes of being), which are static, structural, and knowable, are the source of fixities. The Dunamis is a "primary pulsating ground."

"Creative activity begins with an attempt to produce an excellent work" (p. 32) and "turns a prospective excellence into a single unification of a plurality of separately produced parts" (p. 1). One creative venture differs from another "primarily in its concern with a particular kind of excellence, other ways of employing ultimate factors, the production of other kinds of units, and a successful, technical mastery of special materials" (p. 43). Particular excellences begin as bare, indeterminate prospects that "become more and more determinate by being realized as factors used in a distinctive venture" (p. 194). Creators, using distinct epitomizations of their privacy and embedding the results in special materials, repeatedly merge conditions and the Dunamis so that the unification of these ultimates achieves the prospective excellence focused upon. Human creators differ from other humans not in kind but in activity, by realizing "prospective excellences beyond any preassignable degree" (p. 249).

Beauty is the prospective excellence of art, the truth of mathematics, the good of a noble character, the glory of leadership, and the justice of statesmanship. The Dunamis turns the creator toward the prospective excellence, grounds the root-relatedness of all factors involved, gives vibrancy to, and carries the reader toward, what is made available by a created work. The condition most pertinent to art is the voluminous, which is "dealt with as being primarily spatial, temporal, or transformative" (p. 5). Mathematics utilizes the rational, which is "sheer intelligibility of form." Forging a noble character employs the stratifier, which is "an assessing, ordering power." Leadership makes use of the affiliator, which "enables items to be interinvolved with one another as more or less compatible and supportive." Statesmanship implements the coordinator.

A good reading of the created work discerns the effective condition operative in a creative venture. A good reading of a created work begins with the identification of an excellent work and follows the lead of the feeling in it, which results in "the reader being opened up to depths intrusive on what is daily confronted" (p. 44). Weiss notes that if what he maintains about creative activity is correct, "a good reading of all kinds of creation will make evident the nature of all the conditions that operate everywhere, and which the cosmos, nature, the humanized world, and men specialize in diverse ways" (p. 308).

Creative Ventures extends in important ways, and helpfully applies to creativity, previously developed Weissian insights into human privacy, conditions, and the Dunamis. Of particular importance are the appendix that further clarifies the nature and character of the Dunamis and where it is encountered, and the chart that details the relationships between the various elements pertaining to creative ventures. There are noteworthy treatments of work and creativity, of various views of mathematics and set theory as the foundation of mathematics, of the nature and development of character, of the nature of genuine leadership, and of the nature of statesmanship and justice. The volume is an important addition both to Weissian scholarship and to reflection on the nature of creativity.
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Author:Krettek, Thomas
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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