The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1998

Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts

Igor Douven
Pages 35-40

Style and Supervenience

Cope’s Computers and Musical Style (1991) describes a computer program that allegedly can represent and replicate musical styles solely on the basis of compositions that have been entered into it. If this claim is correct, then it must be that an oeuvre’s stylistic characteristics locally supervene on its textual features, which roughly means that its stylistic properties are entirely determined by its textual properties. In my paper I argue that stylistic properties do not locally supervene on textual properties, and thus that neither Cope’s program nor any other that essentially works like it can represent or replicate styles.