Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
Augusta O. Gooch
Ingarden’s Quasi-Judgment as Aesthetic Ontology
Some contemporary analyses of the nature of artistic works have been too narrowly focused to establish the ontological status of the literary work. In her many books and articles Amie Thomasson reflects on the variety of problems involved in establishing clarity on the ontological status of an artistic work. Her conclusion is that the ontological status is either unanswerable or that the question is ill-formed. It is only because of a limited empirical model of evaluation that the ontological integrity of the literary work is unseen. I propose to use Roman Ingarden’s work to provide a more substantial direction for an aesthetic ontology. Polish phenomenologist Roman Ingarden wrote the Literary work of Art in 1931 and wrote The cognition of the Literary work of Art in 1937. Both these texts are largely ignored by philosophers today (though they were influential in the Wellek and Warren theory of literature in the 1940’s). Ingarden’s work provides a multi-layered reality which defines the ontological status of a literary work of art. Two specific issues characterize the literary work for Ingarden: the nature of the quasi-judgment and the metaphysical qualities that transcend individual works.