Musical Works Without Musical Works: An Essay in Ontology
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This thesis provides an answer to the question, “what is a musical work?” I begin by canvasing four of the leading accounts in the literature, two Platonist theories and two Nominalist theories. Nominalism is, I suggest, well motivated, though neither of the two accounts given is satisfying. Next, I provide a detailed account of the main view in the literature, Julian Dodd’s type theory of musical works. According to Dodd, musical works are types and therefore are abstract entities. In Chapter 3 I criticize Dodd’s view by arguing that positing abstract type-entities provides no explanatory power so they should be rejected. Finally in Chapter 4 I show that a satisfying Nominalist account that does not identify any entity with musical works can be given. Thus, Dodd is correct to say that musical works are types but incorrect to suggest that this thereby commits us to an ontology including types.