Musical Works: A Mash-Up

Joseph G. Moore

in Art and Abstract Objects

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199691494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746277 | DOI:
Musical Works: A Mash-Up

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It is argued that the concept of a musical work shifts innocuously with judgmental setting between the notion of a sound-structure and a more musically flexible notion that is grounded in musico-historical context. This ‘individuative indeterminacy’ in the work-concept explains and defuses a debate between ‘contextualists’ and ‘structuralists’ about the individuation of musical works, but it raises the Quinean worry that musical works are ontologically illegitimate ‘entities without identity’. It is argued that this challenge can be met by adopting a supervaluation model of how the work-concept shifts, coupled with a disjunctive (‘schizoid’) metaphysics and a semantic pretense account of our seeming reference to individual musical works. The proposed view also suggests that the existence conditions of musical works are indeterminate—one of the two entities that grounds thought and talk about musical works comes into (and goes out of) existence while the other does not.

Keywords: musical works; metaphysics; individuation; supervaluation; sound-structure; provenance

Chapter.  9225 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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