The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Ontology of Works of Art

Chat about anything your heart desires here, just be civil. Factual or scientific questions about philosophy go here (e.g. "When was Socrates born?"), and so most homework help questions belong here. Note, posts in the off-topic section will not increase new members post counts. This includes the introductions and feedback sections.
User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 23rd, 2019, 12:04 am

+++This thread is a continuation of the off-topic discussion in that thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15925&start=390+++

Background information: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art- ... y-history/

———
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
Consul wrote:For example, the question is: What is the referent of the name "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony"? Beethoven's handwritten original score and all printed copies or versions of it are concrete, physical things representing BNS, but none of them is called "BNS". All performances of BNS are concrete, physical events and manifestations of it, but none of them is called "BNS". For BNS as such is an abstract or "objectively ideal" (* object, and I think as such it is a fictional object. (* i.e. not "subjectively ideal" like a mental idea or image)
There are abstract and concrete objects.
I believe there are only concrete objects or entities. That is, I reject ontological abstractism aka platonism = realism about abstracta.
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
From concrete singular objects (concrete particulars) we produce abstract singular objects (abstract particulars),…
Are you referring to sets or classes?

Being an antiplatonist, I believe there are no sets or classes as abstract objects. (If sets/classes are nothing more than aggregates, i.e. mereological sums, of concrete entities, then I acknowledge their existence.)

Terminological remark: Properties known as tropes (or modes), which aren't universals but particulars, have been called "abstract particulars"; but they aren't abstract in the platonistic sense. In fact, they are ontologically concrete; that is, they are mental or physical, and they exist somewhere in space and time.

"For [Donald] Williams, and for us following his usage, abstract does not imply indefinite, or purely theoretical. Most importantly, it does not imply that what is abstract is non-spatio-temporal. The solidity of this bell, here and now, is a definite, experienceable and locatable reality. It is so definite, experienceable and locatable that it can knock your head off, if you are not careful."

(Campbell, Keith. Abstract Particulars. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. p. 3)
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
…but also, from a set of concrete singular objects, of which we identify common attributes, we produce abstract universal objects (as general categories).
Are you referring to concepts? (Categories are concepts.)

Being an antiplatonist, I believe there are no concepts as abstract objects, be they Platonic universals, Fregean predicate-senses, or types of mental representations (as opposed to concrete tokens thereof).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
These are the ones for which is made the distinction between type and its tokens, the abstract universal and its concrete instances.
We have different distinctions here:

1. types vs. tokens
2. universals vs. instances
3. intensions (concepts [qua predicate-meanings]) vs. extensions (sets/classes)

I think 1 isn't identical to 2 or 3. I especially think that types aren't universals (neither substantial ones = kinds nor nonsubstantial ones = properties or relations) but particulars (particular abstract objects) because of their "non-predicability".

"When it comes to being predicable, however, most types diverge from such classic examples of universals as the property of being white or the relation of being east of. They seem not to be predicable, or at least not as obviously so as the classic examples of universals. That is, if the hallmark of a universal is to answer to a predicate or open sentence such as being white answers to ‘is white’, then most types do not resemble universals, as they more readily answer to singular terms. This is amply illustrated by the type talk exhibited in §2 above. It is also underscored by the observation that it is more natural to say of a token of a word—‘infinity’, say—that it is a token of the word ‘infinity’ than that it is an ‘infinity’. That is to say, types seem to be objects, like numbers and sets, rather than properties or relations; it's just that they are not concrete particulars but are general objects—abstract objects, on some views."

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/types-tokens/

For example, if Beethoven's Ninth Symphony [BNS] (qua type) were a kind-universal, one could say of something that it is a Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. But doing so seems nonsensical—as opposed to saying of something that it is a symphony (which can truly be said of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony).

By the way, the abstract-concrete distinction and the universal-particular distinction are mutually independent. For example, so-called Platonic or transcendent universals are abstract entities, but so-called Aristotelian or immanent universals are not, being concrete entities in space and time.

By the way, strictly speaking, abstract universals shouldn't be called abstract objects, since they aren't objects in the narrow ontological sense of "object", in which it is not synonymous with "entity".
On the other hand, calling them abstract entities is not or hardly acceptable for antiplatonists like me, because doing so presupposes (or seems to presuppose at least) their existence—unless "entity" isn't used synonymously with "something that is/exists". From my antiplatonist point of view, abstract "entities" are actually nonentities. The advantage of "object" is its ontological neutrality, there being no ontological commitment involved in called something an abstract object.

By the way, the universal-particular distinction is also different from the attribute-object/substance distinction, since attributes (properties or relations) can be particulars (called tropes/modes).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
Now, regarding a musical work as Beethoven's Ninth, the question is whether it is an abstract universal or a concrete object.
…or an abstract object (that is not a type qua universal).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
I think we should acknowledge that it is a singular concrete object, which exists as a composition, a design, a particular organization of sounds devised in a particular moment in time. It happens to require for its perception and realization as a discrete entity, the material representation of symbols (musical notation), that is, the graphical record that allows its reassembly in particular performances. The same happens with theatrical plays, but also with the design of a house or a car, which at one moment ceased to be only abstract objects in the creator's mind and became concrete designs, evidenced by precise blueprints. So, the Ninth is not an abstract universal; as a singular object it is not a type, and neither its performances are tokens. However, in relation to the "classical music" type, the Ninth could be its token.
Abstract objects don't exist in any minds, since if they did, they would be concrete objects, with "concrete" generally meaning "physical or mental (or physically or mentally reducible)". Moreover, an abstract object cannot possibly become a concrete one, because the abstract and the concrete are mutually exclusive ontological categories.

I agree with you that BNS is not (neither an abstract nor a concrete) universal, but I disagree with you insofar as I think that it is an abstract object qua type ("type-object" rather than "type-universal")—albeit a fictional and thus nonexistent one, but I'm just talking about ontologically noncommitting categorial distinctions here.
I think the relationship between BNS and its performances as concrete sound-events is best described in terms of the type-token distinction. (Well, again, from my antiplatonist perspective, it's just a pseudo-relationship, since a real relationship presupposes the coexistence of all its relata.)

If your sentence "In relation to the 'classical music' type, the Ninth could be its token" simply means that the Ninth is (an instance of the property of being) a piece of classical music or (an instance of the property of being) a symphony, then this is certainly true (unless, I think, the talk of property-instances presupposes the existence of properties qua universals, because I don't believe in property-universals).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
Painting and sculpture, because of the materials used and the corresponding perception, do not require "instructions" for their realization, they come out as discrete entities right away, the moment of creation coincides with the moment of execution. I think that perhaps this is (or should be) behind Goodman's famous distinction between autographic and allographic art. Thus, the exact copy of a painting is a forgery, but the exact reproduction of Beethoven's Ninth is not.
Right, in the case of works of art such as paintings or sculptures, which are unique and unrepeatable concrete, material objects, a copy of the original is not a second original. (Well, some artists have themselves made duplicates of their paintings or sculptures, which might count as additional originals.)

A performance of BNS is certainly not a copy or a reproduction of it (but a realization of it in the form of a physical sound-event), let alone an exact one, since no two performances of BNS are exactly similar. This is a good thing, since the various interpretations of the same score by different conductors and orchesters enrich our musical culture (and the companies selling CDs).
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 8:10 pm
None of this has to do with the nature of fictional entities, which can show up by means of representation in singular concrete objects, and can become abstract universals. The gargoyles in medieval churches represent mythical, fictional, imaginary entities, which don't really exist, but the stone figures are concrete particulars, of which common features could be abstracted to conform the abstract universal type "gargoyle", being each particular stone gargoyle its token.
If types are kinds (kind-universals) and gargoyles are stone figures or statues in or at churches (rather than the fictional creatures represented by them), then each particular one of them can be called an instance of the type/kind "gargoylehood". But note that here "gargoylehood" refers to a kind of stone figure/statue and not to a (fictional) kind of living creature! Gargoyles qua stone figures/statues do exist, but gargoyles qua (fictional) living creatures (represented by the former) do not.

Since all fictional objects are nothing but nonexistent intentional objects of thought or imagination, there must be existent mental or physical representations of them. But the relationship between a fictional object and its real representations is neither the one between universals and their instances, nor the one between types and their tokens. (A performance of BNS realizes but doesn't represent it.)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Scott
Site Admin
Posts: 4323
Joined: January 20th, 2007, 6:24 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
Contact:

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Scott » January 23rd, 2019, 10:15 am

I don't really understand what the topic of the OP is meant to be exactly, namely since it seems to mainly be a continuation of a one-on-one discussion. Trying to understand the conversation and figure out what it's about feels to me a bit like listening into a phone conversation halfway through. If the main subject or point of debate can be defined, perhaps we could restart this as a formal one-on-one debate in the Interviews and One-on-One Discussions section.
Online Philosophy Club - Please tell me how to improve this website!

Check it out: Abortion - Not as diametrically divisive as often thought?

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 439
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Count Lucanor » January 24th, 2019, 9:08 pm

Scott wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 10:15 am
I don't really understand what the topic of the OP is meant to be exactly, namely since it seems to mainly be a continuation of a one-on-one discussion. Trying to understand the conversation and figure out what it's about feels to me a bit like listening into a phone conversation halfway through. If the main subject or point of debate can be defined, perhaps we could restart this as a formal one-on-one debate in the Interviews and One-on-One Discussions section.
Scott, the off-topic debate ensued after my remark, directed at Belindi, that fictional entities don't exist as real concrete ontological entities, that they are mere abstractions, and that Belindi was confusing them with the representations of such abstractions. Consul jumped in to say that:
Consul wrote: However, the ontological situation is more complicated, because as far as works of art (literature, music, cinema, theater) are concerned, there is a difference between abstract, immaterial types and concrete, material tokens.

For example, there's a difference between Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as an abstract work of music (and thus as a type) and concrete performances or recordings of it (and thus as tokens).
I began to question the notion that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, or any musical composition, is an abstract object per se, and its performances the concrete tokens.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 439
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Count Lucanor » January 24th, 2019, 9:14 pm

Consul wrote:I believe there are only concrete objects or entities. That is, I reject ontological abstractism aka platonism = realism about abstracta.
Actually, we are aligned in that statement. For economy of language I use the term "abstract objects", meaning mental representations, but as a materialist monist, I don't give them the ontological status of a substance.
Consul wrote: Are you referring to sets or classes?

Being an antiplatonist, I believe there are no sets or classes as abstract objects. (If sets/classes are nothing more than aggregates, i.e. mereological sums, of concrete entities, then I acknowledge their existence.)
I believe that sets and classes cannot be anything else but abstract objects, since they are entirely subjective, they are an organization of the mental representations of the real properties of concrete particulars, considering what they have in common. These objects can be put in different sets or classes according to a selective criteria of their perceived properties, which can be unlimited.
Consul wrote: "For [Donald] Williams, and for us following his usage, abstract does not imply indefinite, or purely theoretical. Most importantly, it does not imply that what is abstract is non-spatio-temporal. The solidity of this bell, here and now, is a definite, experienceable and locatable reality. It is so definite, experienceable and locatable that it can knock your head off, if you are not careful."

(Campbell, Keith. Abstract Particulars. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. p. 3)
A distinction should be made between the mental (abstract) representation of the properties of an object and the objective properties themselves, which surely can knock your head off. I can have mental representations of the solidity of bells when there are no real bells around anymore, but those will have no effect in the world. Conversely, when there is no consciousness around to entertain the concept of solidity, that is, even when the concept doesn't exist in someone's mind, we can expect properties of objects like solidity to have an effect in the world.
Consul wrote: Are you referring to concepts? (Categories are concepts.)

Being an antiplatonist, I believe there are no concepts as abstract objects, be they Platonic universals, Fregean predicate-senses, or types of mental representations (as opposed to concrete tokens thereof).
I don't understand how concepts could be anything but abstract objects (mental representations), as they surely could not be concrete ones.
Consul wrote:We have different distinctions here:

1. types vs. tokens
2. universals vs. instances
3. intensions (concepts [qua predicate-meanings]) vs. extensions (sets/classes)

I think 1 isn't identical to 2 or 3. I especially think that types aren't universals (neither substantial ones = kinds nor nonsubstantial ones = properties or relations) but particulars (particular abstract objects) because of their "non-predicability".
I think 1 and 2 can be the same. If we think of abstract particulars as universals, they are not types, but I'm not convinced that abstract particulars can be universals. If I think of my dog Dino, it will be a particular mental representation that correponds to the particular real object, it is not a "generic Dino". But having known many dogs, I can abstract their common features when thinking of "dog" as a general category, which would be the abstract universal, of which Dino is an instance, or a token of the type dog.
Consul wrote: By the way, the abstract-concrete distinction and the universal-particular distinction are mutually independent. For example, so-called Platonic or transcendent universals are abstract entities, but so-called Aristotelian or immanent universals are not, being concrete entities in space and time.
Although I support the impossibility of conciliating Platonism and immanentism, and despite that I reject Platonism, I don't think we are left only with the option of any concept (such as universals) being a concrete entity in space and time, which would make it a substance. I still think they are non-substantial entities.
Consul wrote: By the way, strictly speaking, abstract universals shouldn't be called abstract objects, since they aren't objects in the narrow ontological sense of "object", in which it is not synonymous with "entity".
On the other hand, calling them abstract entities is not or hardly acceptable for antiplatonists like me, because doing so presupposes (or seems to presuppose at least) their existence—unless "entity" isn't used synonymously with "something that is/exists". From my antiplatonist point of view, abstract "entities" are actually nonentities. The advantage of "object" is its ontological neutrality, there being no ontological commitment involved in called something an abstract object.
As I explained before, I support the narrow sense view: abstract entities are non-entities, that is, they are not ontologically independent substantial objects, precisely because they are sensory reproductions of the real objects of the world. But that's sort of a genealogical dependence, since the mental impression remains in absence of the real concrete objects.
Consul wrote:
Count Lucanor wrote:Now, regarding a musical work as Beethoven's Ninth, the question is whether it is an abstract universal or a concrete object.
…or an abstract object (that is not a type qua universal).
I left out that option because I think it is already implied, as I just mentioned in my previous comment. Once we know of a concrete particular, there is the corresponding abstract object, its mental representation. If Beethoven's Ninth is a concrete particular, there must be its corresponding abstract particular object, the concept of Beethoven's Ninth.
Consul wrote: Abstract objects don't exist in any minds, since if they did, they would be concrete objects, with "concrete" generally meaning "physical or mental (or physically or mentally reducible)".
Minds themselves don't seem to be physical places where substantial things can be contained. Mind is a name for certain processes occurring in an organism. By abstract objects we should mean particular sets of processing symbolic relationships.
Consul wrote: Moreover, an abstract object cannot possibly become a concrete one, because the abstract and the concrete are mutually exclusive ontological categories
I'm aware of that, however a subject could use the abstract idea of something to make a real concrete object. The thing is composed theoretically in his mind before building it in practice, usually in a process that goes back and forth.
Consul wrote: I agree with you that BNS is not (neither an abstract nor a concrete) universal, but I disagree with you insofar as I think that it is an abstract object qua type ("type-object" rather than "type-universal")—albeit a fictional and thus nonexistent one, but I'm just talking about ontologically noncommitting categorial distinctions here.
I just can't see types as anything else but general categories, thus only abstract universals and not abstract particulars. There's no type Dino that can apply to tokens, be them dogs or whatever. The same with Beethoven's Ninth.
Consul wrote: If types are kinds (kind-universals) and gargoyles are stone figures or statues in or at churches (rather than the fictional creatures represented by them), then each particular one of them can be called an instance of the type/kind "gargoylehood". But note that here "gargoylehood" refers to a kind of stone figure/statue and not to a (fictional) kind of living creature! Gargoyles qua stone figures/statues do exist, but gargoyles qua (fictional) living creatures (represented by the former) do not.
I agree, but the point was that none of this has any weight in determining the fictional nature of something. Both real and fictional things can be abstract particulars represented by concrete particulars, and they can also form abstract universals (types of real things and types of fictional things).

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 25th, 2019, 2:40 am

Consul -

Is talking about this subject matter a concrete or abstract? If so can you lie out how you diffrentiate between “concrete” and “abstract,” hopefully pointing to areas where the delineation is a little fuzzy?

Thanks
AKA badgerjelly

Jklint
Posts: 1332
Joined: February 23rd, 2012, 3:06 am

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Jklint » January 25th, 2019, 5:17 pm

Are any of these dichotomies useful or necessary in listening to Beethoven's 9th or to Bruckner or Mahler? The same idea could apply to Shakespeare's plays, abstractions when printed, tokens when performed.

Any sound symbol whether in music or language in that sense begins as an abstraction. If one were capable of reading the partitur of Beethoven's 9th and play it back in one's head as its composer undoubtedly could, would that render an abstraction or a token? Same with novels and plays; would that translate into an abstraction or token while reading and visualizing - which cannot be avoided - as compared to an actual performance....not that any such distinctions are in the least important since it all begins with a translation of symbol into sound.

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 12:48 am

+++Oh dear! After having opened this new thread, I was looking for it only in the subforum Philosophy of the Arts and Philosophy in the Arts without finding it there. So, a few minutes ago, I opened it again there; but then I happened to notice that my thread is already there in another subforum. But why is it here in the Philosophers' Lounge and not where it belongs, viz. the subforum Philosophy of the Arts and Philosophy in the Arts?+++
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 12:52 am

Scott wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 10:15 am
I don't really understand what the topic of the OP is meant to be exactly, namely since it seems to mainly be a continuation of a one-on-one discussion. Trying to understand the conversation and figure out what it's about feels to me a bit like listening into a phone conversation halfway through. If the main subject or point of debate can be defined, perhaps we could restart this as a formal one-on-one debate in the Interviews and One-on-One Discussions section.
Isn't the thread title chosen by me precise enough?

See: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art- ... y-history/
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 1:04 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:40 am
Consul - Is talking about this subject matter a concrete or abstract?
Our discussion is a concrete event or process.
Burning ghost wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:40 am
If so can you lie out how you diffrentiate between “concrete” and “abstract,” hopefully pointing to areas where the delineation is a little fuzzy?
I recommend this SEP entry on abstract objects: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abstract-objects/

Here's my definition: Something is ontologically abstract iff it is (1) neither mental nor physical (and not ontologically reducible to anything mental or physical either), (2) neither spatially/spatiotemporally extended nor spatial/spatiotemporally located, and (3) causally impotent, i.e. epiphenomenal.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 1:15 am

Jklint wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 5:17 pm
Are any of these dichotomies useful or necessary in listening to Beethoven's 9th or to Bruckner or Mahler? The same idea could apply to Shakespeare's plays, abstractions when printed, tokens when performed.
Speaking of Shakespeare, Cyril Joad's analysis of the ontological problem is spot-on.

(However, unlike him, I'm not prepared to regard a work of literature such as Hamlet "as a member of the class of subsistent objects which are neither mental nor material but are, nevertheless, constituent factors of the universe possessing being in their own right." For in my view it is just a fictional abstract object.)

"Universals in Literary Criticism. Nevertheless, the arguments for the independent being not only of universals but of subsistent objects seem to me to be strong, and at the risk of being thought to give too prominent a place to my own views in what purports to be an impartial survey of philosophical thought, I propose to supplement the above account with a further illustration indicative of the way in which the view that there are subsistent objects is postulated by the every-day expressions of our language. Let us take, as an example of such an expression: 'Hamlet is a great play.' Of what are we thinking when we use the word Hamlet ? Or, to put the question in another form, what precisely is the nature of the entity to which we are applying the epithet 'great'?

Again, various alternatives suggest themselves. It may be said that the entity of which we are predicating the attribute of greatness is the manuscript upon which Shakespeare wrote the script of Hamlet or the first folio edition, or a modern printed text, or the sum-total of all of these. But if all the printed copies of Hamlet were destroyed and a company of actors proceeded to Hamlet from memory, there seems no reason to doubt that we should still be entitled to call Hamlet a great play and that we should mean something by doing so. The printed texts, even Shakespeare’s original manuscript, are nothing more nor less than collections of black marks on a white or yellow background, and it is certainly not of these that we wish to assert greatness.

Similarly with regard to the productions of Hamlet. A production may be a bad one; but no one would be tempted to argue from the fact that the production was bad that the greatness of Hamlet was thereby impaired. There is, in fact, a familiar and perfectly well understood distinction between the play and its production, and as the script is in the last resort a series of black marks on a white background, so the production turns out on analysis to be a series of movements on the part of the feet, arms and heads of the players, and of waves of sound travelling through the atmosphere originating in movements in their larynxes.

Is it, then, of some mental entity or set of entities that we are predicating greatness, when we speak of Hamlet? Here again there are two alternatives. We may, it is said, be intending to refer to a set of ideas in Shakespeare’s mind. But Shakespeare’s mind is no longer in existence. Even if we are prepared to assert that the human mind survives death, and further to assume that the surviving mind of Shakespeare still contains the ideas that expressed themselves in Hamlet, it seems reasonably certain that this assertion and this assumption are not involved in the statement 'Hamlet is a great play.' Are we then, to invoke the hypothesis of floating ideas which are not the ideas of any mind but exist as it were in vacuo and affirm that it is to these that we were referring? The hypothesis seems, to say the least of it, unlikely.

Alternatively, it may be said that we are referring to ideas in our own minds, and in the minds of all those who are performing, or seeing, or reading the play, or at any time have performed, or seen, or read it and remember what they learned, saw, or read. This seems to be at first sight a more plausible suggestion, especially if it be supplemented with the further suggestion that the word 'ideas' should in this connection be interpreted in a very wide sense, so as to include all the experiences, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual, which a cultivated person may enjoy on seeing a performance of Hamlet or in reading the play.

But (1) it seems to be most improbable that we are in fact referring to all these minds and experiences, most of which are unknown to us, when we make the statement 'Hamlet is a great play.' (2) If we weere referring to them, we should, in so far as our own experience is concerned, be paying a totally undeserved compliment to ourselves. For it would be of certain events happening in our own minds that we should be asserting that they deserved the epithet 'great.' Now we certainly do not intend, when we praise a play, to pay ourselves any compliment of this kind. (3) If all those who are seeing and reading, and have seen and read Hamlet, were abolished, it would, if this view were true, cease to be a great play. I doubt if anybody who has really admired Hamlet believes this. (4) When we make this assertion about Hamlet, it certainly seems as if we are purporting to speak and we certainly believe ourselves to be speaking not about our own or about anybody else's experiences, but about something which is the cause of these experiences. Now this something is not, at least prima facie itself an experience.

But if it is not of a text or a script or a performance or a collection of floating ideas or a set of experiences in any mind or minds that we are speaking, when we say 'Hamlet is a great play,' to what is it that we are attributing the characteristic of greatness? The obvious answer is that it is to the play itself. And what account are we to give of the play itself unless we are prepared to regard it as a member of the class of subsistent objects which are neither mental nor material but are, nevertheless, constituent factors of the universe possessing being in their own right."


(Joad, C. E. M. Guide to Philosophy. London: Victor Gollancz, 1936. pp. 267-70)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 26th, 2019, 1:32 am

Consul wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 1:04 am
Burning ghost wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:40 am
Consul - Is talking about this subject matter a concrete or abstract?
Our discussion is a concrete event or process.
Burning ghost wrote:
January 25th, 2019, 2:40 am
If so can you lie out how you diffrentiate between “concrete” and “abstract,” hopefully pointing to areas where the delineation is a little fuzzy?
I recommend this SEP entry on abstract objects: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abstract-objects/

Here's my definition: Something is ontologically abstract iff it is (1) neither mental nor physical (and not ontologically reducible to anything mental or physical either), (2) neither spatially/spatiotemporally extended nor spatial/spatiotemporally located, and (3) causally impotent, i.e. epiphenomenal.
By our definition “abstract” (in the ontological sense) means nothing at all in the first sense. Neither physical or mental doesn’t leave anything at all. The rest follows suit (even a number/quantity is known in regard to something else even though mathematics is abstract ... it is with maths that I was hoping you’d outline what it is you mean.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 2:01 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 1:32 am
By our definition “abstract” (in the ontological sense) means nothing at all in the first sense. Neither physical or mental doesn’t leave anything at all. The rest follows suit (even a number/quantity is known in regard to something else even though mathematics is abstract ... it is with maths that I was hoping you’d outline what it is you mean.
What is "our definition"? Anyway, I'm not sure what you mean by "doesn't leave anything at all". I don't believe in the existence of (mathematical or non-mathematical) abstract entities, but there is a sense in which "essence precedes existence" (E. J. Lowe), which is to say that I don't need to know whether a thing exists before I can know what it is (or would be if it existed). A definition of "abstract entity" such as mine tells us what such a thing is (if it exists). The question whether such things exist is left open, and it is certainly not true by definition that everything that exists/is real is concrete in the sense of being mental or physical. If concretism is true, it is not an analytic a priori truth.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 26th, 2019, 2:53 am

Mistype “your” not our.

You leave nothing else. If not then please give me an example of something that is abstract. If you cannot then you’re talking about nothing therefore the term is pointless. What “such a thing is” is no thing at all in the manner you’ve ... well, not framed it.

Your definition of an abstract entity doesn’t do anything nor is it of any use. So why bother? I don’t get it. The closest thing I can think of would be Kantian Noumenon
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Consul
Posts: 1954
Joined: February 21st, 2014, 6:32 am
Location: Germany

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Consul » January 26th, 2019, 3:18 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 26th, 2019, 2:53 am
You leave nothing else. If not then please give me an example of something that is abstract. If you cannot then you’re talking about nothing therefore the term is pointless. What “such a thing is” is no thing at all in the manner you’ve ... well, not framed it.
Your definition of an abstract entity doesn’t do anything nor is it of any use. So why bother? I don’t get it. The closest thing I can think of would be Kantian Noumenon
There are philosophers who see reasons to postulate abstract entities (as defined by me) such as the following ones:

1. Mathematical objects: numbers, sets/classes, functions, ideal geometric objects

2. Transcendent universals (properties, relations, kinds)

3. Concepts

4. Propositions/states of affairs/facts

5. Meanings, intensions, information contents

6. Linguistic/Semiotic types (types of signs/representations)

7. Works of art/Games

8. Possible worlds
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

User avatar
Burning ghost
Posts: 3037
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: Ontology of Works of Art

Post by Burning ghost » January 26th, 2019, 3:51 am

Consul -

Maybe you can see my issue then when referring to the above you’ve mentioned whilst also saying :
Here's my definition: Something is ontologically abstract iff it is (1) neither mental nor physical (and not ontologically reducible to anything mental or physical either), (2) neither spatially/spatiotemporally extended nor spatial/spatiotemporally located, and (3) causally impotent, i.e. epiphenomenal.
Tell me how any if those 8 examples wed with what you’ve said above. To me they are contradictory. As an example a concept is certainly mental at the least so right there you’ve failed to meet the requirements of (1). Needless to say “meanings, intensions, information contents” don’t fit either.

What am I missing?
AKA badgerjelly

Post Reply