During our century the demarcation lines between art and non-art have become vague to the extent that the continuation of art as a
valuable component of culture is questionable. The history of art and aesthetics has so far failed to delineate clearly those demarcation lines. Hence, an understanding of the origins of art is needed now more than ever because it may reveal the most important attributes of art in its very beginnings. This essay examines three theories which attempt to explain the origins of art from very different epistemological points of view: a naive empiricist point of view (H. Breuil), a rather simplistic cognitive point of view (E.H. Gombrich) and an extreme behaviourist point of view (W. Davis), the analysis and refutation of which comprise the major part of this essay. The analysis of these approaches to the problem shows that none offers an adequate explanation of the origins of art, mainly because each disregards either empirical or epistemological considerations or both. The behaviourist rejects all epistemological factors, but this hardly makes them immaterial; it only conceals them as implied and inevitable assumptions. An interdisciplinary approach is called for in order to elucidate the problem of the origins of art.