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The Imaginary Museum of Musical WorksAn Essay in the Philosophy of Music$
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Lydia Goehr

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198235415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198235410.001.0001

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A Platonist Theory of Musical Works

A Platonist Theory of Musical Works

(p.44) 2 A Platonist Theory of Musical Works
The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works

Lydia Goehr (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The limitations of the analytic approach are further explored through a consideration of Jerrold Levinson's modified Platonist view of musical works and performances. Levinson's account of musical works as initiated types seems to be more sensitive to our pre‐ontological and aesthetic understanding of works. The debate between Goodman and Levinson largely turns on which pre‐ontological and/or aesthetic conditions they are willing either to accommodate or dispense with in their theories. Several disputes are considered: Do notationally identical pieces that are produced nonetheless by different composers count as ‘the same’ work? Are works created or discovered? Is the specification of instrumentation essential to the identity of a work? The cases are used to demonstrate that no satisfactory decision between pre‐ontological and ontological claims can be reached within the theoretical limits provided by current strategies of analysis.

Keywords:   external compliance, internal compliance, Jerrold Levinson, ontology, platonism

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