What Type of ‘Type’ is a Film?

David Davies

in Art and Abstract Objects

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199691494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746277 | DOI:
What Type of ‘Type’ is a Film?

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It is assumed that artworks having multiple instances must be abstracta, with instances as tokens; entailing that they are discovered not created and are modally inflexible—counterintuitive for those multiples (films, photographs) generated via what Wolterstorff terms a ‘production artifact’. The generative process of such is causal-mechanical, differing only in complexity from the process whereby singular artworks, such as daguerrotypes, come into being. This chapter surveys arguments for the ‘abstracta’ view and evades implications of this view by construing such works as continuants. The issue, it argues, is the principle whereby certain things can be grouped as instances ‘of’ a work. It examines principles of grouping outside the arts that reflect shared causal histories and suggests we can explain the repeatability of multiples generated through production artefacts in terms of those histories; thereby treating the works as concrete events to which the instances stand in a common relation

Keywords: Wolterstorff; type theory; norm kinds; continuant; repeatable art; multiples; instances; abstracta

Chapter.  8871 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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