Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2022

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Studies

Committee Chair

Emily Rollie

Second Committee Member

Therese Young

Third Committee Member

Natashia Lindsey


In 1951, philosopher Justus Buchler crafted Toward a General Theory of Human Judgment, a seminal work that changed how philosophy examined human judgment. One central and guiding principle to Buchler's theory is what he called “proception,” a lens through which to freshly view human experience. Specifically, proception is a philosophically appropriate substitute for the term “experience,” and refers to the process by which the human individual relates to their world as a cumulative being. Buchler describes in copious detail how the individual accomplishes proception by way of judgments or “utterances.” That is to say, crucial to relating to the world as an individual is judgment, and essential to judgment is expression.

Human expression likewise has many philosophic layers to it, but none are more critical than the creative aspect. While Buchler rarely addresses creativity and the arts in his philosophy of human judgment, I argue that his ideas about judgment and proception imply that the creative process is at the core of human experience, or proception. Thus, this study reevaluates human judgment as it relates to creativity and the arts. I explore how to apply the key elements of Buchler’s theory to the arts, and particularly dance, an endeavor I have dubbed “proceptivism,” a new approach to both Buchler’s theory and the arts.