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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: The Understanding of Metaphor and Creativity, 23rd Oct 2013, St Marys University College, London, UK

All enquiries to Dr Stephen Rainey :

St Marys University College, Philosophy Department
Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture
The Understanding of Metaphor and Creativity

Prof. John Barnden, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, the University of Birmingham
Wednesday 23rd October 2013
 5.15pm - 6.45pm, followed by a drinks reception
 Senior Common Room, St Marys University College, Twickenham


Metaphors can provide insight into situations and creative descriptions of them. I will discuss 
respects in which metaphors can be creative, drawing insights from an account I have been 
developing of how the subtleties of metaphorical language--and other, non-linguistic, forms of 
metaphorical expression--arise and can be understood. Another, very different side to the talk 
(or is it?) will be a brief discussion of metaphors used in describing creativity. Both sides of 
the talk may contribute something to the task of settling on what creativity and related things 
such as originality are, or at least temporarily perching on an ever-shifting mass of ideas about 

About the Speaker:

John Barnden has been Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Birmingham since 
1997. He is a previous chair and current vice-chair of the Society for the Study of Artificial 
Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour. His main research interest is in metaphor,

including not only its importance in natural language technology in AI but also its 
multidisciplinary vibrancy in linguistics, psychology and philosophy. He is on the edges of 
the computational creativity community (people who are in the question of creative computational 
artefacts). He also has a long-time interest in consciousness that he would like to develop further,
and in particular has written on the question of the possible fundamental metaphoricity of 


All lectures are free and open to the public without registration. Lectures start at 5:15 and last 
for 50 minutes, with 40 minutes for questions. This is then followed by a wine reception.

Senior Common Room, St Marys University College, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, 
TW1 4SX, UK.

Directions to the university: 

For further information, please contact Dr Stephen Rainey :
Series Abstract

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would
cease to be an artist.
Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying (1889)

Creativity is a term used to characterise a wide variety of acts and
outcomes, across a spectrum of disciplines and areas. It is often
described it as an ability, and one that is identified in the production
of work or artefacts that are novel or original and appropriate or useful
(within particular constraints). Yet to understand concepts
like original, novel and useful requires further consideration.
While some see creative action as akin to some kind of imitation (or
mimesis), others see creativity as the need to express something within,
involving inner conflict, or the reconciliation of the outer with the

The third Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture Series at St Marys
University College will explore the topic of creativity by inviting
speakers from a range of disciplines to reflect on the concept of
creativity, including (but not limited to):

What is creativity?
Is creativity only about creating or building, or do discovery,
destruction and clearing away also have a role?
Is creativity found in the combination of existing things in new forms,
or the making of new forms, or in simply seeing something anew?
Where do non-representational art, poetry, or literature fit with more
traditional notions of creativity. What about scientific or political
theories? In politics, for instance, are the transitions from traditional,
to industrial, to information societies, themselves acts of creation? Does
a move from Newtonian to Quantum physics represent an act of creativity?