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Research Article

Why We Need a Theory of Art


Annelies Monseré

Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, BE
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In this article, I argue against Dominic McIver Lopes’s claim that nobody needs a theory of art. On the one hand, I will demonstrate that Lopes’s alternative to theories of art – namely, the buck-passing theory of art – is neither more viable nor more fruitful: it is likewise incapable of resolving disagreement over the status of certain artefacts and of being fruitful for the broader field of the arts. On the other hand, I will defend the view that we are in need of a viable theory of art. The concept of art has a profound impact on our cultural practices. Concepts of art in use now showcase biased and arbitrary features. Correspondingly, certain artefacts and practices are excluded from the domain of art without adequate justification. Therefore, I will argue, it is unwarranted to abandon the search for a viable theory of art.
How to Cite: Monseré, Annelies. “Why We Need a Theory of Art”. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics 53, no. 2 (2016): 165–83. DOI:
Published on 25 Nov 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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