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Music Pluralism, Music Realism, and Music Archaeology

  • Anton KillinEmail author


According to pluralism about some concept, there are multiple non-equivalent, legitimate concepts pertaining to the (alleged) ontological category in question. It is an open question whether conceptual pluralism implies anti-realism about that category. In this article, I argue that at least for the case of music, it does not. To undermine the application of an influential move from pluralism (about music concepts) to anti-realism (about the music category), then, I provide an argument in support of indifference realism about music, by appeal to music archaeological research, via an analogy with Adrian Currie’s indifference realism about species licensed by paleobiological research.


Conceptual pluralism Music concepts Indifference realism Music archaeology 



For comments on previous versions of the material I thank Adrian Currie, Marilynn Johnson, Brandon Polite, Jason Waller, Ellen Clarke and anonymous referees. I thank audiences at the 2018 Joint Conference of the South Carolina Society for Philosophy and North Carolina Philosophical Society at Winthrop University, the 2018 Joint Conference of the Australasian Association of Philosophy and New Zealand Association of Philosophers at Victoria University of Wellington, the 2018 workshop on Art, Evolution and Cognition at Macquarie University, Sydney, the 2019 American Society for Aesthetics Eastern Division Conference in Philadelphia, and the 2019 Ohio Philosophical Association Conference at Wittenberg University.


This study was not funded by any external Grants.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

I declare that I have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animlas

No animal nor human subjects were used in this research.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy and Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of LanguageAustralian National UniversityActonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyMount Allison UniversitySackvilleCanada

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