Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Luvell Anderson


Conceptual Art;Creativity;Dominic Lopes;Margaret Boden;Philosophy of Art;Sociocultural

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Philosophy


This dissertation proposes a theory of art founded on sociocultural accounts of creativity, with conceptual art as its explanatory model. This proposal is a direct response to Dom Lopes’s thesis in Beyond Art, which argues that a theory of art is not viable and that such theorizing should be passed to individual arts. Requirements for a viable theory of art emerge via a sustained critique of Lopes’s arguments. These requirements can be met by turning Lopes’s account of marginal “hard cases” on their head, centralizing the model of conceptual art as explanatory paradigm. Additionally, I introduce the “even harder cases”, cases that function as art without any recognition as ‘art’; the treatment of these cases, along with work in the area of sociocultural creativity and social justice theory helps to build an Aristotelean account of how art is a fundamental function of all human societies. This proposal then carries with it the implications of revising what we think counts as artworks and not.


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