Creative Minds Like Ours? Large Language Models and the "How" of Human Linguistic Creativity
Vincent Carchidi
February 2024
 

The creative aspect of language use (CALU) is the stimulus-free, unbounded, yet appropriate and coherent use of language by human beings. This ordinary use of language is distinctive: it describes the species-specific ability to deploy one’s cognitive resources to any problem or task that one sees fit to tackle or to invent new problems altogether. In this way, the human ability to use language to appropriately express new thoughts in a manner that is causally independent of one’s local circumstances enables the sheer scope of human creativity. With the rise of Large Language Models (LLMs) has come a burgeoning interest in the creative and linguistic capabilities of these systems. CALU has thus far been largely absent from this literature. This paper fills the gap by explicating CALU from its roots in Cartesian philosophy and its revival in the biolinguistic approach articulated most prominently by Noam Chomsky. It then assesses whether LLMs exhibit CALU. Finding that LLMs only exhibit one interpretation of the “unboundedness” criterion, and therefore fail to demonstrate that they possess creative minds like ours, the implications of this result for the future of computational creativity are briefly explored.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007719
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Pre-print
keywords: artificial intelligence; large language models; computational creativity; creative aspect of language use; generative linguistics; cognitive science, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v2 [February 2024]
v1 [November 2023]
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