Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Dan Weiskopf

Third Advisor

Andrea Scarantino


I argue for the Expanded Cluster Account of art (ECA) by first inquiring as to whether “art” is best described by a cluster account and where ECA fits into the current landscape of theories of concepts. Second, I explicate the relevant aspects of Boyd’s theory of natural kinds and argue that his concepts of “disciplinary matrices” and “homeostatic property clusters” (roughly analogous to Gaut’s criterial properties for characterizing art, particularized for each individual kind) have relevant roles in a proper cluster account of art, thus explicating and expanding Gaut’s account in the process. Third, I defend the thesis that Boyd’s concept of “disciplinary matrix,” when applied to “art,” is fulfilled by George Dickie’s notion of “the Artworld.” Lastly, I consider objections to ECA and positively explain its heuristic and explanatory efficacy above and beyond other contemporary “anti-definitional” accounts.