Art and Abstract Objects

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Art and Abstract Objectspresents a lively philosophical exchange between the philosophy of art and the core areas of philosophy. The standard way of thinking about non-repeatable (single-instance) artworks such as paintings, drawings, and non-cast sculpture is that they areconcrete(i.e., material, causally efficacious, located in space and time). Da Vinci'sMona Lisais currently located in Paris. Richard Serra'sTilted Arcis 73 tonnes of solid steel. Johannes Vermeer'sThe Concertwas stolen in 1990 and remains missing. Michaelangelo'sDavidwas attacked with a hammer in 1991. By contrast, the standard way of thinking about repeatable (multiple-instance) artworks such as novels, poems, plays, operas, films, symphonies is that they must be abstract (i.e., immaterial, causally inert, outside space-time): consider the current location of Melville'sMoby Dick, the weight of Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium", or how one might go about stealing Puccini'sLa Bohemeor vandalizing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9. Although novels, poems, and symphonies may appear radically unlike stock abstract objects such as numbers, sets, and propositions, most philosophers of art think that for the basic intuitions, practices, and conventions surrounding such works to be preserved, repeatable artworks must be abstracta. This volume examines how philosophical enquiry into art might itself productively inform or be productively informed by enquiry into abstracta taking place within not just metaphysics but also the philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind and language. While the contributors chiefly focus on the relationship between philosophy of art and contemporary metaphysics with respect to the overlap issue of abstracta, they provide a methodological blueprint from which scholars working both within and beyond philosophy of art can begin building responsible, mutually informative, and productive relationships between their respective fields.

Author Biography

Christy Mag Uidhir is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston. His main area of research is the philosophy of art. He has published articles in such journals as Philosophers' Imprint, Philosophical Studies, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, The British Journal of Aesthetics, and The Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism. He is currently at work on an original monograph, tentatively titled The Attempt Theory of Art (under contract with Oxford University Press).

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Introduction: Art, Metaphysics, and The Paradox of Standards, Christy Mag Uidhir
General Ontological Issues
1. Must Ontological Pragmatism Be Self-Defeating?, Guy Rohrbaugh
2. Indication, Abstraction, and Individuation, Jerrold Levinson
3. Destroying Artworks, Marcus Rossberg
Informative Comparisons
4. Art, Open-Endedness, and Indefinite Extensibility, Roy T. Cook
5. Historical Individuals Like Anas platyrhynchos and 'Classical Gas', P.D. Magnus
6. Repeatable Artwork Sentences and Generics, Shieva Kleinschmidt & Jacob Ross
Arguments Against and Alternatives To
7. Against Repeatable Artworks, Allan Hazlett
8. How to be a Nominalist and a Fictional Realist, Ross Cameron
9. Platonism vs. Nominalism in Contemporary Musical Ontology, Andrew Kania
Abstracta Across the Arts
10. Reflections on the Metaphysics of Sculpture, Hud Hudson
11. Installation Art and Performance: A Shared Ontology, Sherri Irvin
12. What Type of 'Type' is a Film?, David Davies
13. Musical Works: A Mash-Up, Joseph Moore

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