In Beyond Art (2014), Dominic Lopes proposed a new theory of art, the buck passing theory. Rather than attempting to define art in terms of exhibited or genetic featured shared by all artworks, Lopes passes the buck to theories of individual arts. He proposes that we seek theories of music, painting, poetry, and other arts. Once we have these theories, we know everything there is to know about the theory of art. This essay presents two challenges to the theory. First, (...) this essay argues that Lopes is wrong in supposing that theories of arts were developed to deal with the ‘hard cases’ – developments such as Duchamp’s readymades and conceptual art. This is a problem since Lopes holds that the buck passing theory’s capacity to deal with the hard cases is one of its virtues. Second, this essay argues that the buck passing theory has no account of which activities are arts and no account of what makes some activity an art. (shrink)
Aaron Ridley posed the question of whether results in the ontology of musical works would have implications for judgements about the interpretation, meaning or aesthetic value of musical works and performances. His arguments for the conclusion that the ontology of musical works have no aesthetic consequences are unsuccessful, but he is right in thinking (in opposition to Andrew Kania and others) that ontological judgements have no aesthetic consequences. The key to demonstrating this conclusion is the recognition that ontological judgments are (...) a priori and aesthetic judgments are empirical. A priori judgements have no empirical consequences. Neither fundamental ontology of music nor higher- order ontological reflections have any aesthetic consequences. (shrink)
The central claim of this essay is that many deflationary theories of truth are variants of the correspondence theory of truth. Essential to the correspondence theory of truth is the proposal that objective features of the world are the truthmakers of statements. Many advocates of deflationary theories (including F. P. Ramsay, P. F. Strawson and Paul Horwich) remain committed to this proposal. Although T-sentences (statements of the form “ s is true iff p ”) are presented by advocates of deflationary (...) theories of truth as truisms or analytic truths, T-sentences are often understood as entailing commitment to the central proposal of the correspondence theory. (shrink)
The correspondence theory of truth holds that each true sentence corresponds to a discrete fact. Donald Davidson and others have argued (using an argument that has come to be known as the slingshot) that this theory is mistaken, since all true sentences correspond to the same “Great Fact.” The argument is designed to show that by substituting logically equivalent sentences and coreferring terms for each other in the context of sentences of the form ‘P corresponds to the fact that P’ (...) every true sentence can be shown to correspond to the same facts as every other true sentence. The claim is that all substitution of logically equivalent sentences and coreferring terms takes place salva veritate. I argue that the substitution of coreferring terms in this context need not preserve truth. The slingshot fails to refute the correspondence theory. (shrink)
This paper explores the various available forms of relativism concerning aesthetic judgement and contrasts them with aesthetic absolutism. Two important distinctions are drawn. The first is between subjectivism (which relativizes judgements to an individual's sentiments or feelings) and the relativization of aesthetic judgements to intersubjective standards. The other is between relativism about aesthetic properties and relativism about the truth-values of aesthetic judgements. Several plausible forms of relativism about aesthetic properties are on offer, but relativism about the truth-values of aesthetic judgements (...) is more elusive. In particular, John MacFarlane's approach to relativism is shown not to result in relativism about the truth-values of aesthetic judgements. (shrink)
One of the contemporary results of Germany’s memorial conundrum is the rise of its “counter-monuments”: brazen, painfully self-conscious memorial spaces conceived to challenge the very premises of their being. On the former site of Hamburg’s greatest synagogue, at Bornplatz, Margrit Kahl has assembled an intricate mosaic tracing the complex lines of the synagogue’s roof construction: a palimpsest for a building and community that no longer exist. Norbert Radermacher bathes a guilty landscape in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood with the inscribed light of (...) its past. Alfred Hrdlicka began a monument in Hamburg to counter—and thereby neutralize—an indestructible Nazi monument nearby. In a suburb of Hamburg, Jochen Gerz and Esther Shalev-Gerz have erected a black pillar against fascism and for peace designed to disappear altogether over time. The very heart of Berlin, former site of the gestapo headquarters, remains a great, gaping wound as politicians, artists, and various committees forever debate the most appropriate memorial for this site.4 4. The long-burning debate surrounding projected memorials, to the Gestapo-Gelände in particular, continues to exemplify both the German memorial conundrum and the state’s painstaking attempts to articulate it. For an excellent documentation of the process, see Topographie des Terrors: Gestapo, SS und Reichssicherheitshauptamt auf dem “Prinz-Albrecht-Gelände,” ed. Reinhard Rürup . For a shorter account, see James E. Young, “The Topography of German Memory,” The Journal of Art 1 : 30. James E. Young is assistant professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation and The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning in Europe, Israel, and America , from which this essay is drawn. He is also the curator of “The Art of Memory,” an exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York. (shrink)
A bewildering array of accounts of the ontology of musical works is available. Philosophers have held that works of music are sets of performances, abstract, eternal sound-event types, initiated types, compositional action types, compositional action tokens, ideas in a composer’s mind and continuants that perdure. This paper maintains that questions in the ontology of music are, in Rudolf Carnap’s sense of the term, pseudo-problems. That is, there is no alethic basis for choosing between rival musical ontologies. While we have no (...) alethic basis for choosing any ontology of music, pragmatic reasons can be given for favoring certain ontologies of musical works over others. (shrink)
Peter Kivy and Stephen Davies developed an influential and convincing account of what features of music cause listeners to hear it as expressive of emotion. Their view (the resemblance theory) holds that music is expressive of some emotion when it resembles human expressive behaviour. Some features of music, they believe, are expressive of emotion because of conventional associations. In recent years, Kivy has rejected the resemblance theory without adopting an alternative. This essay argues that Kivy has been unwise to abandon (...) the resemblance theory. New and compelling psychological evidence supports the theory. The essay also argues that new psychological evidence indicates that convention makes a smaller contribution to musical expressiveness than Kivy and Davies believe. (shrink)
DUMMETT HAS BEEN CONCERNED WITH SHOWING HOW ONE MIGHT GIVE\nAN ANTI-REALIST ACCOUNT OF RESTRICTED CLASSES OF SENTENCES.\nTHIS PAPER ARGUES THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO GIVE AN\nANTI-REALIST ACCOUNT OF ALL CLASSES OF SENTENCES. THAT IS,\nIN THE CASE OF NO CLASSES OF SENTENCES DOES TRUTH TRANSCEND\nWHAT CAN BE WARRANTED. THE KEY TO GLOBAL ANTI-REALISM IS\nREPLACING DUMMETT'S EMPIRICISM WITH A COHERENTIST ACCOUNT\nOF WARRANT. THE AUTHOR POINTS OUT THAT COLIN McGINN'S\nARGUMENT AGAINST GLOBAL ANTI-REALISM FAILS.
In this article, I examine both the problem of so-called postmodern history as it relates to the Holocaust and suggest the ways that Saul Friedlander's recent work successfully mediates between the somewhat overly polemicized positions of "relativist" and "positivist" history. In this context, I find that in his search for an adequately self-reflexive historical narrative for the Holocaust, Hayden White's proposed notion of "middle-voicedness" may recommend itself more as a process for eyewitness writers than as a style for historians after (...) the fact. From here, I look at the ways Saul Friedlander's reflections on the historian's voice not only mediate between White's notions of the ironic mode and middle-voicedness, but also suggest the basis for an uncanny history in its own right: an anti-redemptory narrative that works through, yet never actually bridges, the gap between a survivor's "deep memory" and historical narrative.For finally, it may be the very idea of "deep memory" and its incompatibility to narrative that constitutes one of the central challenges to Holocaust historiography. What can be done with what Friedlander has termed "deep memory" of the survivor, that which remains essentially unrepresentable? Is it possible to write a history that includes some oblique reference to such deep memory, but which leaves it essentially intact, untouched and thereby deep? In this section, I suggest, after Patrick Hutton, that "What is at issue here is not how history can recover memory, but, rather, what memory will bequeath to history." That is, what shall we do with the living memory of survivors? How will it enter the historical record? Or to paraphrase Hutton again, "How will the past be remembered as it passes from living memory to history?" Will it always be regarded as so overly laden with pathos as to make it unreliable as documentary evidence? Or is there a place for the understanding of the witness, as subjective and skewed as it may be, for our larger historical understanding of events?In partial answer to these questions, I attempt to extend Friedlander's insights toward a narrow kind of history-telling I call "received history"-a double-stranded narrative that tells a survivor-historian's story and my own relationship to it. Such a narrative would chart not just the life of the survivor-historian itself but also the measurable effect of the tellings-both his telling and mine-on my own life's story. Together, they would compose a received history of the Holocaust and its afterlife in the author's mind-my "vicarious past.". (shrink)
When writing about art, aestheticians tend to focus on the work of art and on the artist who produces it. When they refer to audiences, they typically speak only of the effect that the artwork has on its audience. Aestheticians pay little, if any, attention to the important active role that an audience plays in the workings of a healthy art world. My goal in this essay is to do something to end the neglect of the audience. I will focus (...) on the role of the informed or, as I will call it, educated audience. I begin by subjecting the concept of an audience to some old-fashioned conceptual analysis. Once we are clearer about what an audience is and, in particular, what an educated audience is, we can begin to determine .. (shrink)
It is often suggested that artists from one culture (outsiders) cannot successfully employ styles, stories, motifs and other artistic content developed in the context of another culture. I call this suggestion the aesthetic handicap thesis and argue against it. Cultural appropriation can result in works of high aesthetic value.
Paul Oskar Kristeller famously argued that the modern ‘ system of the arts ’ did not emerge until the mid-eighteenth century, in the work of Charles Batteux. On this view, the modern conception of the fine arts had no parallel in the ancient world, the middle-ages or the modern period prior to Batteux. This paper argues that Kristeller was wrong. The ancient conception of the imitative arts completely overlaps with Batteux’s fine arts : poetry, painting, music, sculpture, and dance. Writers (...) from the sixteenth century on adopted the ancient conception of the imitative arts and anticipated the views of Batteux by 200 years. Batteux simply popularized the rubric ‘fine arts ’. (shrink)
Some members of the Vienna Circle argued for a coherence theory of truth. Their coherentism is immune to standard objections. Most versions of coherentism are unable to show why a sentence cannot be true even though it fails to cohere with a system of beliefs. That is, it seems that truth may transcend what we can be warranted in believing. If so, truth cannot consist in coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's coherentists held, first, that sentences are (...) warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. Next they drew upon their verification theory of meaning, a consequence of which is that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted. The coherence theory of knowledge and verificationism together entail that truth cannot transcend what can be warranted by coherence with a system of beliefs. The Vienna Circle's argument for coherentism is strong and anticipates contemporary anti-realism. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers of music, including Lydia Goehr and Peter Kivy, maintain that the experience of music changed drastically in about 1800. According to the great divide hypothesis, prior to 1800 audiences often scarcely attended to music. At other times, music was appreciated as part of social, civic, or religious ceremonies. After the great divide, audiences began to appreciate music as an exclusive object of aesthetic experience. The great divide hypothesis is false. The musicological record reveals that prior to the (...) great divide music was often the exclusive object of aesthetic experience. (shrink)