Tuesday, December 7, 2010

it's time

Michael Matthews, my composer friend, sent me this:

> > In the UK, the race to become the number one song in the country at Christmas is a big deal. Last year, a Facebook campaign succeeded in making Rage Against the Machine's years-old track "Killing in the Name" the Christmas number one, upsetting X Factor winner Joe McElderry. This year, an indie-leaning all-star group of artists is attempting the same thing, with a "cover" of John Cage's experimental piece "4'33"", [*] which famously consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of silence.
> >
> >
> > The group of artists getting together to record the new version of "4'33"" are using the name Cage Against the Machine, naturally. Their number includes Pete Doherty, Billy Bragg, producer Paul Epworth, and members of the Big Pink, the Kooks, UNKLE, Orbital, Coldcut, and many others. (More artists may join up.) They'll all gather at London's Dean Street Studios on December 6 to record the track, and director DickCarruthers will film it. Wall of Sound will release it-- along with "pocket remixes" by Hot Chip, Herve, Adam F, and Mr. Scruff -- on December 13. (It's tough to imagine how a remix of silence will sound, but it's happening.) And even though this version hasn't been recorded yet, there's already a Facebook campaign to get it to number one.
> >
> > Proceeds from the single will go to five charities, including the British Tinnitus Association. Britain has a long tradition of "We Are the World"-esque all-star charity singles topping the charts; check Pitchfork contributor Tom Ewing's long-running Popular blog, which reviews every British number one ever, for evidence. But if this particular track succeeds in hitting the top spot, it'll be a massive coup for quixotic conceptual stunts. A college professor once told me that "4'33"" ended music forever, so maybe this release will end all-star charity singles forever?
> >
> > Posted by Tom Breihan on December 2, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.

Monday, December 6, 2010

topc doc says artworks can't change

I don't know if we'll get to it tomorrow, but I put copies of Levinson's "Artworks and the Future" in the pigeon-holes. He argues that artworks don't change. Check it out, especially ADDITIONAL NOTE 3 tacked on to the end of the paper. It's still all about the footnotes for him. If you're having trouble coming up with a paper topic, see if you have any ideas about his argument for the no-change thesis.

I'm grading your last set of papers asa quickly as I can. Some of you have already had comments returned to you. If you don't get comments by Thursday, let me know. Also, if it's important to you to get comments on paper #2 before you write #3, take a couple of extra days for #3.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another topic

If you're having trouble coming up with as topic for your Dec. 15th paper, consider this.

Levinson wants the following (HK = The Hammerklavier Sonata):

HK can be performed on the piano.
HK can performed on the fortepiano.
HK can be interpreted in various aesthetically interesting ways where each of those various performances are performances of HK.
HK cannot be performed on a perfect timbral synthesizer.

In answering this, try to be conscious of the difference between instances of a work and performances of a work for Levinson.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

article in The New Yorker

This may not be ontologically relevant, but it's an interesting article on the conservation of the wood panels used for pre-canvas paintings.

Onward and Upward with the ArtsThe Flip SideThe secrets of conserving the wood behind an early masterpiece.by Peter Schjeldahl
November 29, 2010 .Peter Schjeldahl, Onward and Upward with the Arts, “The Flip Side,” The New Yorker, November 29, 2010, p. 42

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/29/101129fa_fact_schjeldahl#ixzz170AX9olb

Unfortunately, you need a digital subscription to read the whole article, but it should still be on newstands for a day or so.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Has this been bugging anyone else? The fact that both Levinson and Kivy are trying to define a Musical Work such that it represents our use of the term in everyday language, even though it has become evident that what people are attempting to refer to varies from person to person. It seems their argument has been reduced to an argument about what the "general intuition is", and I'm just wondering whether this is futile, as no intuition is being globally accepted. Am I missing something critical? something in their arguments that does not depend on mere intuition? When saying things like "I could have written that work" our intuition seems to go with Kivy's. When saying "that work is unoriginal" we seem to be going with Levinson's. Both seem to be meaningful, though they have contradictory consequences. So something other than a further intuition seems necessary to determine which is the proper use of the term. Has any been given?

Pop Star Puzzler

A question for anyone and everyone who cares to answer: How would Levinson handle Hatsune Miku? Here's a link to an L.A. Times article, with a concert video.

Or other question: How should an ontology of music, that favours relations, handle representations of this sort? Is there really a problem to begin with?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

paper topic

Here's a topic that uses both what we did last week and what we'll discuss on Tuesday:

A masterpiece by Titian has been gradually fading for nearly 500 years, to the extent that it now appears to be a uniform white rectangle. Upon consulatation with philosophers, computer engineers and quantum physicists, the Gedanken Gallery has decided that it would be inadvisable to restore the painting using traditional means. Instead, it has decided to project on the flat white original painting a digital image of the painting as it originally appeared in 1525. Of course, there were repercussions, especially from proponents of the Traditional Viewership Movement, who declaim that viewership is defined as a relationship between a person and a painting.

The curator of the Gedanken Gallery responds as follows: "As Levinson argues, a musical work is (give or take) a sound structure indicated by a composer in a musico-historical context. Levinson's ontology best captures the thesis that musical works directly bear their artistic properties. We at Gedanken think that paintings should be conceived in the same way, that is, as pictorial structures indicated by a painter in an art-historical context. Therefore, seeing an actual painting is aesthetically irrelevant. A viewer can have a full artistic experience of a painting by looking at a perfect projection in The Gedanken Gallery-- or anywhere else. Paintings are indicated structures, not physical objects."

Discuss. Should paintings be analogized to musical works? What are the problems with conceiving of paintings like musical works? There are a number of different questions that you could pursue here. You'll only have space (5 pages) for one or two.

Due:November 30. You have two papers to do by December 15. Also, if you've started to work on fluxions/flusions or another topic, feel free to continue with what you're doing. If you want to write on this topic later too, that's fine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

some readings

In addition to what's in the Kivy Levinson exchange, we can talk about this when we do creatibility:

Can a Musical Work Be Created?
Caplan, Ben; Matheson, Carl
British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 113-134, April 2004

Against Musical Works As Eternal Types
Author Trivedi, Saam
Source British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 73-82, January 2002

Also, here's something extra on fine individuation:

Fine Individuation
Matheson, Carl; Caplan, Ben
British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 113-137, April 2007

Sorry about all the Caplan&Matheson stuff, but I've probably thought more about fine individuation more than I have anything else in the phil of art.

By the way, the seminar yesterday was a model of how a seminar should be -- a group discussion to which everyone contributed and stayed on point. Thanks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Hi all,

I found an e-copy of Kivy's first response to Levinson.


Hope that works. If not, you can find it by searching 'PLATONISM IN MUSIC' in Google Scholar.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is the main reading for next week. It's e-available.


Author Levinson, Jerrold

Source Journal of Philosophy, vol. 77, pp. 5-28, January 1980

This is the second of Kivy's defences of musical platonism. It's e-available:


Author Kivy, Peter

Source American Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 24, pp. 245-252, July 1987

His first defence and Levinson's follow up to "What a Musical Work Is" are not e-available. I'll try to get them to you. I'll post here when they've arrived in the pigeon-holes.

Levinson: What a Musical Work is, Again. from "Music Art and Metaphysics."



Author Kivy, Peter


Sunday, October 31, 2010

art and decay

How often has you art been taken out to the desert to be disposed of?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What a difference a small change to a novel's L.S. structure can make.

For anyone who is looking for a 'could have been otherwise and now is' book of fiction, check this out:

Celebrity Chekov

Its not a mash up.

some sites relevant to the restoration of artworks




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'Living' Architecture


This post does not address artworks directly (unless one considers architecture to be artistic), however, I think that the applications that are spoken of in this video are interesting nonetheless.

ripped from the headlines!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

more on restoration

Look at this paper on the issue of preserving contemporary artworks:

The Artist's Sanction in Contemporary Art
Irvin, Sherri
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 315-326, Fall 2005


Saturday, October 23, 2010

reading on restoration

I know that you're hard at work on your papers, but we might get started on the possible metaphysical implications or presuppositions related to the restoration of artworks. To begin, read:

Art and Its Preservation
Author(s): David Carrier
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 43 No. 3 (Spring, 1985), pp. 291-300

It's e-available.

We'll devote some of this week to more on of Rohrbaugh's argument against type-theory and to some of the problems facing musical perdurantism (4D-ism). This might be relevant:

Defending Musical Perdurantism
Caplan, Ben; Matheson, Carl
British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 59-69, January 2006

This is e-available too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Paper Troubles

Ahoy, everyone.

I am having the same problem as Danny did with regards to the Dodd papier. Could someone kindly send me a copy?

Thank you any help


Friday, October 15, 2010

Dodd Reply - Rorhbaugh assigment

Thanks, I now have a copy of the Dodd article.


Dodd reply - Rohrbaugh assigment

Hi gang.

Would I be correct in assuming that the Dodd reply that we are to evaluate is contained in: "Time, Continuants and the Ontology of Music" British Journal of Aesthetics Vol44(4) pp 342-360?

I am having no luck in accessing this via e journal...it's keeps sending me back to the library log in page.

Does anybody have a copy of the article that you could send me at graveld@mymts.net?



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

first assignment

Due October 26, 2010

Write three to five pages on the following question. Define all technical terms the first time you use them.

What is Rohrbaugh’s modal rigidity argument against the type-theory of musical works? Present and evaluate Dodd’s response.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Cliff Eyland and I are giving a presentation on some conceptual text art that we've made at the next 10x20x20 event, which will be held at 8 pm next Friday, Oct. 15, at the Park Theatre (698 Osborne St.). 10x20x20 consists of ten presenters drawn from the art and design/architecture communities talking about twenty slides each for twenty seconds a slide. So, each person's presentation is only six minutes and forty seconds long. If you want to know more, here's a link.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

A couple of papers to read.

Take a look at these. They're both e-available from the library.

Title The Spoken Work
Author Alward, Peter
Source Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 62, no. 4, pp. 331-337, Fall 2004

Title Types, Continuants, and the Ontology of Music
Author Dodd, Julian
Source British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 342-360, October 2004

Happy Turkey!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Siging on

Good afternoon everybody.

I am just confirming that I successfully signed on.

Chat with you soon,


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Post

Hi All.

This is the blog for Contemporary Metaphysics 1 (PHIL 3650 and PHIL 7160), our seminar in the ontology of Art for Fall 2010. I've invited you all as authors. When you successfully get in, just leave a post that you have done so.

Next week, we'll start on the Ship of Theseus. Read the following, which can be e-accessed from the U of M Libraries. They were all published long ago in the journal
ANALYSIS and around 5 pages each.

Brian Smart; How to Reidentify the Ship of Theseus
Francis W. Dauer; How not to Reidentify the Parthenon
Lawrence H. Davis; Smart on Conditions of Identity
Brian Smart; The Ship of Theseus, the Parthenon and Disassembled Objects

I'll also be emailing you the pdf of a longer paper.

So feel very free to participate in the blog. I'll check in regularly but may not participate in every discussion.