Paraphrasability and the Causal Status of Types
Some are attracted to the view that repeatable artworks, such as films, novels, plays, symphonies, photographs, and the like, are a particular kind of abstracta—namely, types. This view, however, is not unproblematic. One of the most serious problems it faces is the so-called ‘Creation Problem.’ The core idea behind this problem is that, on the one hand, it seems reasonable to accept the claims that (1) repeatable artworks are types, (2) types cannot be created, and (3) repeatable artworks are created, but, on the other hand, these claims form an inconsistent triad. A popular solution to the Creation Problem is that (2) can be rejected because the justification for (2) is based on a false assumption—that no type can stand in causal relations. While this solution looks promising, it can be accepted only if its proponent can refute what might be called the ‘Paraphrasability Argument.’ On this argument, types are not to be regarded as capable of standing in causal relations, since any discourse implying the causality of types should be paraphrased into discourse that does not imply this. My aim in this essay is to show that there is good reason to consider the Paraphrasability Argument sound and, hence, that the foregoing solution to the Creation Problem fails.