The methodology of musical ontology: Descriptivism and its implications

British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (4):426-444 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I investigate the widely held view that fundamental musical ontology should be descriptivist rather than revisionary, that is, that it should describe how we think about musical works, rather than how they are independently of our thought about them. I argue that if we take descriptivism seriously then, first, we should be sceptical of art-ontological arguments that appeal to independent metaphysical respectability; and, second, we should give ‘fictionalism’ about musical works—the theory that they do not exist—more serious consideration than it is usually accorded. CiteULike    Connotea    What's this?



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,127

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

18 (#860,222)

6 months
205 (#14,269)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Kania
Trinity University

Citations of this work

Intuitions in the Ontology of Musical Works.Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (2):455-474.
Descriptivism and Its Discontents.David Davies - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):117-129.

View all 29 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Artworks as historical individuals.Guy Rohrbaugh - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):177–205.
The ontology of art and knowledge in aesthetics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3):221–229.
Can a Musical Work Be Created?Ben Caplan & Carl Matheson - 2004 - British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):113-134.
Types, indicated and initiated.Robert Howell - 2002 - British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2):105-127.
The intentional inexistence of language — but not cars.Georges Rey - 2006 - In Robert J. Stainton (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 237-55.

View all 6 references / Add more references