Destroying Artworks

Marcus Rossberg

in Art and Abstract Objects

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199691494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746277 | DOI:
Destroying Artworks

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This chapter investigates ways of destroying artworks, assuming they are abstract objects, or works of a particular artform, where they are assumed to be abstracta. If artworks are eternal, mind-independent abstracta, and hence discovered not created, they cannot be destroyed, but merely forgotten or inaccessible. Alternative conceptions of artworks as abstract, hold that there might be logical space for destruction. Artworks as abstracta have been likened to impure sets (concrete things as opposed to pure sets, i.e. nothing but other sets) that have a beginning (when members come into being) and an end (when members cease to exist). Alternatively, artworks have been thought of as types created with their first token. Destruction is harder on the latter: destroying every token might not destroy the type. The chapter exploresthe extent similes can be spelled out and made plausible as an ontology, and what options there are for the accounts for destruction.

Keywords: art ontology; creation; destruction; abstracta; types; tokens; sets

Chapter.  8888 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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