Chapter

Indication, Abstraction, and Individuation<sup>*</sup>

Jerrold Levinson

in Art and Abstract Objects

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199691494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746277 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691494.003.0003
Indication, Abstraction, and Individuation*

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Roughly thirty years ago, as part of an exploration into the ontology of art, Jerrold Levinson suggested that musical works—and implicitly, also literary works—were not pure, abstract structures, like mathematical objects, but instead impure, indicated structures. (See ‘What a Musical Work Is’ and ‘What a Musical Work Is, Again’, reprinted in Music, Art, and Metaphysics, 2nd edn (Oxford University Press), 2011). However, what exactly does that mean? In this chapter the author revisits that old idea of his in the hope of clarifying it, before then using it as a springboard to discussion of the distinctiveness of artistic indication as a singular psychological act, of the individuation of indicated objects that results from artistic indication, of the relation between artistic indication and actions of simple indication, and finally, of the indication that musical and literary artworks effect, as opposed to the indication by which they are created.

Keywords: creation; art ontology; abstract objects; artistic actions; artwork individuation

Chapter.  5408 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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