Volume 45, 2021
Doubting Perspectives and Creative Doubt
Doubt (especially self-doubt) is often considered to be an enemy of creativity. But, might it be its friend, too? We see, in the Zhuangzi (a fourth century BCE Daoist philosophical classic), a number of explorations that point toward an interesting affirmative answer to this question. To explain how the text can be interpreted as suggesting such an answer, this paper proceeds in two parts. First, in section one, I clarify what is meant by “doubt” for the purposes of this paper, as well as several ways in which it can be directed toward its relevant target: entire perspectives (rather than merely individual propositions or sets of propositions). Following that, in section two, I outline a conception of creativity suggested by aspects of the Zhuangzi, and explain how doubt (in the sense discussed in section one) can engender creativity (in the sense discussed in section two), as well as a few reasons that this matters. I then close by briefly discussing two caveats.