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Work and Object: Explorations in the Metaphysics of Art

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  • ISBN-13: 9780199577460
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Release Date: Jul 08, 2010
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.7 x 8.6 inches

Overview

Work and Object is a study of fundamental questions in the metaphysics of art, notably how works relate to the materials that constitute them. Issues about the creation of works, what is essential and inessential to their identity, their distinct kinds of properties, including aesthetic properties, their amenability to interpretation, their style, the conditions under which they can go out of existence, and their relation to perceptually indistinguishable doubles (e.g. forgeries and parodies), are raised and debated. A core theme is that works like paintings, music, literature, sculpture, architecture, films, photographs, multi-media installations, and many more besides, have fundamental features in common, as cultural artefacts, in spite of enormous surface differences. It is their nature as distinct kinds of things, grounded in distinct ontological categories, that is the subject of this enquiry. Although much of the discussion is abstract, based in analytical metaphysics, there are numerous specific applications, including a study of Jean-Paul Sartre's novel La Nausee and recent conceptual art. Some surprising conclusions are derived, about the identity conditions of works and about the difference, often, between what a work seems to be and what it really is.

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