The consensus is that the novel—along with painting, sculpture, and architecture—should be categorized as a non-performing art. In this essay, I argue that such categorization is misguided: In fact, there is good reason to categorize the novel as a performing art. I begin by showing that x is a performing art if the following conditions are satisfied: (a) x is an art and (b) to fully appreciate a work of x, it is necessary to experientially engage with a performance or a performance-like object. I then demonstrate that in the case of the novel, these conditions are actually satisfied.
"What Is a Novel?," Estetika
The question "What is a novel?" has received scant attention in the philosophical literature. Meanwhile, this question is important. In light of this, in this paper, I would like to address it, suggesting a potential answer. I begin by defining what I call "novel in the restricted sense"—the concept that covers all novels except the so-called nonfiction novels, graphic novels, and novels in verse. Then, drawing upon Jerrold Levinson’s approach to defining "art," I provide a definition of the concept that covers nonfiction novels, graphic novels, and novels in verse. Finally, with the help of this definition and the definition of "novel in the restricted sense," I formulate a definition of "novel" simpliciter and defend it against potential objections.
Abstract. The expression "an instance of an artwork" is often used in philosophical discourse about art. Yet there is no clear account of what exactly this expression means. My goal in this essay is to provide such an account. I begin by expounding and defending a particular definition of the concept of "an instance of an artwork." Next, I elaborate this definition—by providing definitions of the main derivatives of the concept of "an instance of an artwork," namely the concepts of "a well-formed instance of an artwork" and "a non-well-formed instance of an artwork." Finally, I examine the relation of the foregoing definitions to the existence and identity conditions of artworks and make some additional remarks concerning these definitions.
Abstract. The consensus is that novels can be fully appreciated only through an experiential engagement with their well-formed instances. But what are the entities that serve as such instances? According to the orthodox view, these entities are primarily inscriptions—concrete texts written or printed on something or displayed on the screen of some electronic device. In this paper, I argue that this view is misguided, since (a) well-formed instances of a novel must manifest certain sonic properties, but (b) such properties cannot be manifested by inscriptions. As an alternative, I put forward the view that the entities that serve as well-formed instances of novels are readings and sums of readings and graphic elements.
Abstract. Recently, a number of philosophers have defended a novel, materialist view on the nature of musical works—musical perdurantism. According to this view, musical works are a peculiar kind of concreta, namely perduring mereological sums of performances and/or other concrete entities. One problem facing musical perdurantism stems from the thought that if this view is correct, then virtually no musical work can exist in a continuous, non-intermittent fashion. The aim of this paper is to expound this problem and show that it cannot be plausibly solved by a musical perdurantist.
Abstract. According to the orthodox view, photographic artworks are abstract objects. This view, however, has recently been challenged by Christy Mag Uidhir. In his article "Photographic Art: An Ontology Fit to Print," he argues in favor of a nominalist construal of photographic artworks. My goal is to show that Mag Uidhir's argument is unpersuasive.
Abstract. What is the ontological status of novels? Are they inscriptions (i.e., concrete texts typically written or printed on something or displayed on the screen of some electronic device)? Sets of inscriptions? Mental representations of some semantic content? Structures of meanings? Syntactic sequences? Or something else? Furthermore, what is the ontological status of instances of a novel (i.e., entities that manifest all the primary properties that must be experienced to fully appreciate this novel)? Are they readings (i.e., sequences of sounds generated as a result of reading aloud)? Inscriptions? Both readings and inscriptions? Or some other entities?
My goal in this dissertation is to answer these questions. Read more...
If you have any questions about my research, feel free to contact me (my email: alexeyaliyev [at] gmail [dot] com).