Ontological Status, Identity, Author, Audience

By Jorge J. E. Gracia

Subjects: Postmodernism
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791429020, 215 pages, July 1996
Hardcover : 9780791429013, 215 pages, July 1996

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Table of contents



I. The Logic of Texts

II. Outline

1. Ontological Status

I. Are Texts Individual or Universal?

A. Individuality and Universality of ECTs

B. Individuality and Universality of Meanings

C. Individuality and Universality of Texts

II. Individuation of Texts

III. Are Texts Physical or NonPhysical?

A. Physical Texts

B. Mental Texts

IV. Relation of Texts to Meanings and ECTs

V. Are Texts Substances or Features?

VI. Are Texts Aggregates or Nonaggregates?

VII. Existence and Location of Texts

VIII. Historicity of Texts

IX. Conclusion

2. Identity

I. Sameness

A. Achronic Sameness of Texts

B. Synchronic Sameness of Texts

C. Diachronic Sameness of Texts

II. Difference

III. Identification and Reidentification of Texts

IV. Conclusion

3. Author

I. Identity of the Author

A. Historical Author

B. Pseudo-Historical Author

C. Composite Author

D. Interpretative Author

II. Function of the Author

A. Function of the Historical Author

B. Function of the Composite Author

C. Function of the Pseudo-Historical Author

D. Function of the Interpretative Author

III. Need for an Author

A. Need for the Historical author

B. Need for the Pseudo-Historical Author

C. Need for the Composite Author

D. Need for the Interpretative Author

IV. Repressive Character of the Author

V. Subjectivity of the Author

VI. Conclusion

4. Audience

I. Identity of the Audience

A. Types of Audience

B. Composition of the Audience

II. Function of the Audience

III. Need for an Audience

IV. Character of the Audience

A. Subversive Character

B. Repressive Character

V. Subjectivity of the Audience

VI. Conclusion



Select Bibliography

Index of Authors

Index of Subjects

Provides an ontological characterization of texts, explores the issues raised by the identity of various texts, and presents a view of the function of authors and audiences, and of their relations to texts.


This book completes the theory of textuality whose logical and epistemological dimensions were presented in Gracia's book, A Theory of Textuality: The Logic and Epistemology (SUNY Press). It provides an ontological characterization of texts consistent with the conception of texts defended in the earlier book; it explores the issues raised by the identity of various texts; and it presents a view of the identity and function of authors and audiences and of their relations to texts. The discussion is systematic, comprehensive, and detailed. Gracia raises all of the important issues related to texts within the areas he explores and takes into account the pertinent literature. The style is argumentative and clear, and the position Gracia defends is based on common sense. He stays clear of the extreme views some contemporary authors have taken with respect to texts and textuality.

This is the only book of its kind. It is the first to develop a comprehensive theory and to adopt an integrative approach where the issues and their solutions are seen as closely connected.

Jorge J. E. Gracia is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at State University of New York at Buffalo. His other works include Philosophy and Literature in Latin America: A Critical Assessment of the Current Situation (with Mireye Camurati); Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics; Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography; Individuation in Scholasticism: The Later Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation, 1150–1650; Individuation and Identity in Early Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant (with Kenneth F. Barber), and A Theory of Textuality: The Logic and Epistemology, all published by SUNY Press.


"Gracia's argument is impressively clear and to the point. He develops a complex taxonomy of the distinctions he must marshal in order to fully explain what a text is, describing and defending each distinction with care and in detail. His conclusions follow reasonably from his arguments and he does an excellent job anticipating criticisms and answering them. Gracia is fully informed by the relevant philosophical scholarship on texts and on the wide range of metaphysical issues of which he must take account in order to establish his position. " — George Allan, Dickinson College