The Poverty of Musical Ontology

Journal of Music and Meaning 13:1-19 (2014)
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Aaron Ridley posed the question of whether results in the ontology of musical works would have implications for judgements about the interpretation, meaning or aesthetic value of musical works and performances. His arguments for the conclusion that the ontology of musical works have no aesthetic consequences are unsuccessful, but he is right in thinking (in opposition to Andrew Kania and others) that ontological judgements have no aesthetic consequences. The key to demonstrating this conclusion is the recognition that ontological judgments are a priori and aesthetic judgments are empirical. A priori judgements have no empirical consequences. Neither fundamental ontology of music nor higher- order ontological reflections have any aesthetic consequences.

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James O. Young
University of Victoria


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