Instructions and Artworks: Musical Scores, Theatrical Scripts, Architectural Plans, and Screenplays

British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (4):399-414 (2011)
This essay offers an account of the relationship between screenplay and film, and it does so by comparing this relationship to the relationships that hold between other sets of instructions and artworks: score and musical work, theatrical script and theatrical work, architectural plan and architectural work. I argue that musical scores and theatrical scripts are work-determinative documents—manuscripts whose existence entails the existence of musical works and theatrical works, respectively, and which determine the facts about what those works are like. On the contrary, I argue that architectural plans and screenplays are not work-determinative because they alone do not entail the existence of any architectural work or film. Nevertheless, I conclude that this difference has no bearing upon art status: theatrical scripts are almost always artworks in their own right, musical scores almost never are, and architectural plans are in certain cases. This conclusion suggests that although the relationship between theatrical script and theatrical work is quite different from that between screenplay and film, there is no reason to think that screenplays cannot be literary artworks in their own right
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayr029
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