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Reviewed by:
  • La razón creativa. Crecimiento y finalidad del ser humano según C.S. Peirce
  • Fernando Zalamea
Sara Barrena . La razón creativa. Crecimiento y finalidad del ser humano según C.S. Peirce. Madrid: Rialp, 2007. 318 pp. No index.

In the immense panorama of Peirce's architectonics, creativity occupies a central role, not always well understood or even adequately acknowledged, but certainly linked to abduction as one of Peirce's major accepted contributions to modern thought. As Roman Jakobson often emphasized, Peirce's turns and perspectives were extremely original, proof of a creative mind always at work. In the secondary literature on Peirce, this blooming creativity has been little studied in a systematic way. Barrena's book under review not only fills the gap, but does so in a highly effective way, profiting both from Peirce's machinery to study creativity, and from Barrena's own experience in literary creation to unravel crucial moments in the emergence of creative thought.

La razón creativa is a concise version of Barrena's impressive Ph.D. thesis, La creatividad en Charles S. Peirce: abducción y razonabilidad (Universidad de Navarra, 2003, advisor Jaime Nubiola). Unfortunately, editorial houses tend to believe that depth and length are not suitable for an (imaginary) uneducated average reader, and Barrena has been forced to shorten somewhat her thesis. Nevertheless—thanks to her unusual capacity to handle both language compactness and conceptual synthesis—the published product contains all the major developments of her Ph.D. work. It is fair to say that Dr. Barrena can be described as one of the top stylistic contributors in the Spanish language literature on Peirce, thanks to an uncommon expository capacity and a linguistic naturalness reserved to the very few. La razón creative should be considered as the major contribution on creativity in Peircean studies at the moment (2008), in any language. Barrena's work is a nice icon in the surge of strong young hispanic Peirce scholars, along with Douglas Niño and Arnold Oostra, possibly the finest present overall connoisseurs of Peirce's polarity of abduction/induction and of Peirce's mathematical logic.

La razón creativa is organized around four main chapters, containing also an introduction, an epilogue, an appendix and a complete bibliography [End Page 532] (both primary and secondary, covering widely the subject). Chapter 1 ("Qué es la creatividad?", pp. 17–78) reviews general trends on the definition of creativity, Peirce as a major creative figure, and Peirce's ideas on creativity (signs, openness, temporality, continuity, growth, spontaneity, habits, pragmaticism). Chapter 2 ("El resultado de la acción creativa", pp. 79–142) studies abduction (musement, creativity degrees, relationships with induction, intuition and instinct), imagination (general trends, scientific imagination, habits, ties with pragmaticism) and creative love (evolution, the universe as a work of art, agapism). Chapter 3 ("Las manifestaciones de la creatividad: lógica, ética y estética", pp. 143–238) covers forms of creativity in the normative sciences: logic (scientific creative construction, community, fallibilism), ethics (creative norms, creative life) and esthetics (summum bonum, life ideal, creativity in the arts). Chapter 4 ("El ser humano a la luz de la razonabilidad", pp. 239–265) advocates the crucial role of an enlarged reason, following Peirce's perspectives on creativity, which should help to overcome dualisms and to reintegrate the wide spectrum of human experience. The Appendix ("La educación creativa", pp. 275–302) tries to apply part of the book's main core to problems in education.

Some of the main contributions of La razón creativa include: (i) a well circumscribed general theory of abduction, where Barrena points to the central position of creativity in order to provide a unification of human experience; (ii) a sustained theory of induction where creativity is encompassed under a wider concept of "razonabilidad" (reasonableness), a merging topos of experience, imagination and reason; (iii) a careful study of the consequences (deduction) of creativity as a unitary frame in the construction of a new humanism; (iv) a claim that creativity sets free people's ordinary life, and that creativity's openness ideal, tied to pragmaticism and to the summum bonum, may help to transform all of us in to...