I investigate the widely held view that fundamental musical ontology should be descriptivist rather than revisionary, that is, that it should describe how we think about musical works, rather than how they are independently of our thought about them. I argue that if we take descriptivism seriously then, first, we should be sceptical of art-ontological arguments that appeal to independent metaphysical respectability; and, second, we should give ‘fictionalism’ about musical works—the theory that they do not exist—more serious consideration than it is usually accorded.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Kania, A. (2008). The methodology of musical ontology: Descriptivism and its implications. British Journal of Aesthetics, 48, 426-444. doi: 10.1093/aesthj/ayn034
British Journal of Aesthetics