The achievement of neglect and the ontology of artworks

of (from British Columbia Philosophy Graduate Conference) The paper seeks to reconcile a folk sentiment and a commonplace within aesthetics that may be in tension: The sentiment that our creations can sustain beyond our own lifetimes as a legacy of our lives and the commonplace that some artworks can be made, and exist as artworks within an artist’s mind, without being articulated in a publicly accessible medium. It does this through denying that artworks can exist as the content of thoughts, and argues that in order to have determinate existence and individuation conditions, all artworks, irrespective of art form need to be articulated in a communicable form. The paper interprets this argument within a framework noting the difference between a work being neglected and falling into oblivion, concluding that an artwork does not exist until it meets the conditions for neglect, separate from its author’s existence.
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