Published in the European Journal of Philosophy (2018)
Philosophers of music often appeal to intuition in order to defend ontological theories of musical works. This practice is worrisome as it is rather unclear just how widely shared are the intuitions that philosophers appeal to. In this paper, I will first offer a brief overview of the debate over the ontology of musical works. I will argue that this debate is driven by a conflict between two seemingly plausible intuitions—the repeatability intuition and the creatability intuition—both of which may be defended on the grounds that they are reflective of our actual musical practices. The problem facing philosophers within this debate is that there is no clear way to determine which of the two conflicting intuitions is more reflective of our musical practices. Finally, I offer discussion of an experimental study that was designed to test participants' intuitions regarding the repeatability of musical works. The evidence presented there suggests that the participants broadly accept the repeatability of musical works, but in a much narrower way than philosophers would likely accept.
The first file below contains the complete text for each question reported in the essay as well as some questions that were not reported. The questions not reported in the essay were excluded because one contained an additional variable not controlled for (the "Baby Got Back" question) and the others simply repeated results that could be found in the reported questions. The files in (2) - (4) contain cross-tabulation data for the questions pertaining to familiarity.