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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1-4/2007

XLIV
Issued: 18th December 2007
Quarterly
Founded: 1964
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: Czech, English

Is There Such a Thing as an Ontological Problem of a Work of Art?

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/79/is-there-such-a-thing-as-an-ontological-problem-of-a-work-of-art

 

In this essay the author argues that an ontological problem of a work of art, one of the long-standing problems of the philosophy of art, is merely an apparent one. The author argues that it in fact comprises two particular, different problems. The first is the question of how the thing being described in aesthetic terms exists, whether the aesthetic and physical description of a thing are so different, indeed disparate, that they cannot – as some philosophers of art assume – relate to the same thing. The second problem is the question of how a work of a multiple art (for example, of music or literature) can exist, whether we can identify it with the individual act of performing or using this work (for example, the performance of music or a reading of a book). The first problem, argues the author, stems from the erroneous assumption that the disparateness of the aesthetic and physical description of a thing leads to the conclusion that the object of aesthetic description must exist differently from the way a physical description exists. The second problem emerges from a lack of understanding of how we use the term “work of art,” when we use it for a work of multiple art. The author also criticizes simultaneous attempts by Arthur Danto and Joseph Margolis, two leading philosophers of art, to solve the ontological problem of the work of art.