The Ontology of Musical Works and the Role of Intuitions: An Experimental Study

European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):348-367 (2018)
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Philosophers of music often appeal to intuition to defend ontological theories of musical works. This practice is worrisome as it is rather unclear just how widely shared are the intuitions that philosophers appeal to. In this paper, I will first offer a brief overview of the debate over the ontology of musical works. I will argue that this debate is driven by a conflict between two seemingly plausible intuitions—the repeatability intuition and the creatability intuition—both of which may be defended on the grounds that they are reflective of our actual musical practices. The problem facing philosophers within this debate is that there is no clear way to determine which of the two conflicting intuitions is more reflective of our musical practices. Finally, I offer discussion of an experimental study that was designed to test participants' intuitions regarding the repeatability of musical works. The evidence presented there suggests that the participants broadly accept the repeatability of musical works, but in a much narrower way than philosophers would likely accept.

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Christopher Bartel
Appalachian State University

Citations of this work

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Art?Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė & Markus Kneer - 2022 - ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interactions.
Experimental philosophy of aesthetics.Florian Cova - 2023 - In Alexander Max Bauer & Stephan Kornmesser (eds.), The Compact Compendium of Experimental Philosophy. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.
Musical Works as Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (3):1245-67.
Intuitions in the Ontology of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):455-474.

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References found in this work

Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1970 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (1):62-63.
Experimental philosophy.Joshua Knobe - 2007 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50:72-73.

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