Elliot Paul

Assistant Professor


Elliot Samuel Paul (B.A. Toronto, Ph.D. Yale) works mainly in early modern philosophy and epistemology.  He also has interests in philosophy of mind and cognitive science, with a particular focus on philosophical issues surrounding creativity.

From 2009-2011 Dr. Paul was Assistant Professor/ Bersoff Faculty Fellow at NYU.

He is co-editor of The Philosophy of Creativity: New Essays (Oxford University Press). He is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Creativity Post (www.creativitypost.com)

Areas of Specialization:
Early Modern Philosophy; Epistemology; Creativity


This semester (Spring 2014), Dr. Paul is teaching Introduction to Philosophy.  In Fall 2014 he will teach an upper-level course on Descartes.


Graduate Placement Officer (Columbia) 




What is creativity?  Could a machine be genuinely creative? Is creativity compatible with following or being guided by rules?  Does it make a difference if the rules are ‘internalized’?  How is it that creativity can be manifest in discovery as well as invention, in science as well as art?  What is the value of creativity?  Is it intrinsically valuable?  Is it a virtue?  Is there really a link between creative genius and madness?  If so, what follows with respect to how we should value or devalue either of those traits?  To what extent is creativity a social phenomenon?  How might creativity play a role not only the production various things but in the reception or appreciation of them as well?  It is a common experience that creative insights arise not from of deliberate reasoning but unexpectedly, in a flash, while one is attending to other things or even asleep, dreaming.  Also, luck often seems to play a role.  In light of these points, how should we conceptualize creative agency? How should we understand the credit and praise we give to creative people?

Academic Focus: 

Early Modern Philosophy, Epistemology, Philosophy of Creativity

Presentations / Recent Lectures: 

at Barnard College, Columbia University on October 28-30, 2010.




office hours: Thursdays 1:30pm to 3:30pm


B.A. Toronto
Ph.D. Yale