Music, Art, and Metaphysics
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This is a long-awaited reissue of Jerrold Levinson's 1990 book Music, Art, and Metaphysics, which gathers together the writings that made him a leading figure in contemporary aesthetics. Most of the essays are distinguished by a concern with metaphysical questions about artworks and their properties, but other essays address the problem of art's definition, the psychology of aesthetic response, and the logic of interpreting and evaluating works of art. The focus of about half of the essays is the art of music, the art of greatest interest to Levinson throughout his career. Many of the essays have been very influential, being among the most cited in contemporary aesthetics and having become essential references in debates on the definition of art, the ontology of art, emotional response to art, expression in art, and the nature of art forms.
interpretation of that notion, whereas the third kind satisfies a transparent interpretation of it. Given the notion as readable in both modes, my definition thus allows (via the art-unconscious intention) for art makers ignorant of all artworks, all art activities, and all institutions of art. Such persons can be seen to make art if they intend their objects for regard in ways that happen to be, unbeknown to them, in the repertory of aesthetic regards established at that time. In such a case
abstract cultural objects of various sorts—e.g., scientific theories, speeches, laws, games. A physical theory, for example, can't be simply a set of sentences, propositions, or equations // it is in fact the possessor of properties such as brilliance, revolutionariness, derivativeness, immediate acceptance. For that very set of sentences, propositions, or equations might be found in another theory occurring fifty years earlier or later which lacked those properties. Additional Notes 1. A highly
have now attained, what do we find? On the one hand, there are the crucial differences: in allographic arts, identity is partially determined notationally, and directly transcribed duplicates can be genuine. But on the other hand, there is an underlying similarity: authenticity in all the arts involves a relation to a unique, historically positioned creative act, and thus all the arts are subject, with varying degrees of gravity, to forgery. The authentic Night Watch is the one Rembrandt made on
changing the subject. The truth condition of something's being yellow, on either the manifest or dispositional construal, is that it standardly appear yellow in white light, whatever that appearance or appearance-capacity may be supervenient on. The application-condition of "yellow" is primarily and ineliminably a matter of "looks yellow." Moving to a simple aural property, highness of pitch, the story is expectedly not much different. High-pitchedness is supervenient on physical frequency of
disparate structures. The inadequacy of reductionism vis-a-vis the lower- and higher-level aesthetic attributes of CWB carries over fairly plainly, I think, to the hesitancy, unease, charm, and wistfulness of Bach's Prelude no. 12. These are not merely arbitrary disjunctions of rhythms, harmonies, and textures. But is the condition-governist (or criteriological) view of aesthetic attributes really that much more plausible because it stops short of positing complete equivalence or definability?