Templeton Grant for Philosophy of Creative Intelligence (corrected)


The Templeton World Charity has awarded a large grant to Joshua Shepherd, research professor in philosophy at Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona for a project on “creative intelligence.”

Joshua Shepherd

The project, “The Composition of Creative Intelligence” takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding creativity:

Recent advances across neuroscience, cognitive psychology, philosophy and artificial intelligence are rapidly changing our understanding of the cognitive structure of creativity, and have raised the possibility of creativity in machines. These advances raise deep questions about the nature of creativity, its place in society, and its contribution to human flourishing. This project will use the methods of philosophy and theoretical science to address these questions, interfacing with insights across multiple disciplines.

More specifically, the aim is to analyze, integrate, and synthesize ideas regarding the composition of creative intelligence.

First, the project team seek to understand option generation—the processes that output, into the stream of consciousness, ideas about what actions to perform. They will study the contribution of cognitive flexibility to option generation, and will utilize data from cases of improvisation. Second, they seek to understand the contribution of cognitive feelings—feelings like curiosity, boredom, confidence, fluency, and effort—to the guidance of creative thought and action. Finally, they will leverage the unique perspective on creative intelligence this project will develop to insights this project aims to develop in order to consider aesthetic and ethical questions regarding the promises and perils of AI for scaffolding creative behavior.

The grant amount is $260,000. You can learn more about the project here.

Readers may recall questions about the extent to which the John Templeton Foundation would continue to fund philosophy projects following a reorganization last year that eliminated the department focused on philosophy. Note, though, that Professor Shepherd’s grant is from the Templeton World Charity, which is a distinct organization from the John Templeton Foundation (though Templeton refers to the same person for each—John Templeton).

The Templeton World Charity provides funding to “help a diverse group of researchers and innovators discover new knowledge, develop new tools, and launch new practices or interventions that make a lasting impact on human flourishing.”


Editorial note: The original version of this post mistakenly credited the John Templeton Foundation as the granting institution.

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