Eric Wilkinson
McGill University
At the heart of Anders Pettersson’s 2017 book, The Idea of a Text and the Nature of Textual Meaning, is his proposed “cluster” definition of a textual work. On this view, a text is a cluster of three kinds of objects: all the physical exemplars of the work, the work’s meaning, and the complex signs that convey that meaning. Pettersson contrasts this with the “ordinary conception” of a text, wherein a text is a unitary object made of the signs and meaning, and each exemplar is an instance of the supervening textual work. The cluster definition is preferable because it is able to overcome contradictions plaguing the ordinary conception and its competitors. This cluster conception of a textual work is both original and deserving of more critical attention. Pettersson not only motivates the view well through his consideration of key examples, but deftly handles the obvious objections. Although the cluster conception is revisionary of our ordinary conception, he makes a strong case. However, I do not focus here on the heart of Pettersson’s work but on something akin to its spleen; Pettersson’s criticism of David Davies’ “Pragmatic Constraint” (PC) on the ontology of artworks.
Keywords Ontology of Art  Pragmatic Constraint  Anders Pettersson  David Davies
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The Primacy of Practice in the Ontology of Art.David Davies - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2):159-171.
Methodological Questions About the Ontology of Music.Robert Stecker - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (4):375 - 386.

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