Against musical works as eternal types

British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (1):73-82 (2002)
Abstract
I criticize Julian Dodd's Platonist conception of musical works as discovered eternal types, and defend and elaborate upon Jerrold Levinson's conception of musical works as creatable indicated types. I raise broadly three sorts of worries for Dodd. First, I argue that Dodd conflates types with Platonist universals in claiming that types are eternal and discovered. Secondly, I raise worries for Dodd's Platonist claim that musical works are discovered not created. Here I argue that Dodd's claim goes against our current musical practice. I then argue that Dodd's view leads to a false divide across the arts, and defend this claim from Dodd's criticisms. I also defend the claim that Dodd's view robs artists of the special status we give to them as creators, not merely creative discoverers. I suggest also that musical works can not only be created but can also plausibly cease to exist, which Dodd's Platonism would seem to deny. Thirdly and finally, I defend the conception of musical works as indicated types from Dodd's criticisms. Here I argue that Dodd's view is ontologically profligate. I also submit that Dodd is mistaken in thinking that indicated types have times as their constituents and thus must be events.
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