Constitution and qua objects in the ontology of music

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Musical Platonists identify musical works with abstract sound structures but this implies that they are not created but only discovered. Jerrold Levinson adapts Platonism to allow for creation by identifying musical works with indicated sound structures. In this paper I explore the similarities between Levinson's view and Kit Fine's theory of qua objects. Fine offers the theory of qua objects as an account of constitution, as it obtains, for example, between a statue and the clay the statue is made out of. I argue that Fine's theory does not adequately characterize the constitution relation and that the problems it faces extend to Levinson's account of musical works as indicated structures. I develop an alternative theory of constitution, based on the notion of being made out of. This approach to constitution enables me to offer an account of musical works as abstract objects that are constituted by sound structures. I argue that my account has several advantages over the Levinson/Fine approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

    Fingerprint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this