, Volume 19, Issue 33, pp 209-219

Artworks, context and ontology

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Abstract

Horgan believes that the truth of the statement “Beethoven’s fifth symphony has four movements” does not require that there be some “dedicated object” answering to the term “Beethoven’s fifth simphony”. To the contrary, the relevant language/world correspondence relation is less direct than this. Especially appropriate is the behavior by Beethoven that we would call “composing his fifth symphony”.

Our objections go along two directions: (1) is the process ontology (a) really a right kind of ontology for artworks (symphonies, novels) and, (b) more important, is this kind of ontology compatible with Parmenidian approach to ontology? The answer to (a) is negative. With reference to point (1b) we might say that Parmenides was a typical staunch advocate of substance metaphysics rather than process metaphysics. Traditionally, substances are individuated by their properties, namely, there are assumed two sorts of properties: primary and secondary. Primary properties describe the substance as it is in and by itself; secondary properties underlie the impact of substances upon others and the responses they elicit from them. (2) The claim that it is most unlikely to suppose that we can have some kind of cognitive contact “with an entity which has no spatio-temporal location and does not causally interact with anything” does not hold. We underpin the claim that there is some cognitive access to entity such as Beethoven’s fifth symphony with Bender’s theory of realization relation between musical work and performance.