First Year Seminar: Philosophy of Music (PHIL 89)

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Instructors: Jon Finson and William Lycan. This seminar meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. in Hill 207.

We will discuss philosophical issues regarding music, such as: What makes a piece of music a good one, or better than another?; emotional content in music; the relation between music and language; the unique problem of what constitutes a “work” of art in the context of the performance; questions of “authentic” performance; the social and cultural context of various musical styles in conjunction with how we apply labels such as “classical,” “popular,” “folk,” and so forth. There will be reading of books and digitized articles on these and other topics. Written work may involve essays on music-philosophical questions, critiques of various recorded performances available on a dedicated website, and perhaps a visit to a “digital concert hall.”This course is cross-listed with MUSC 89.

Jon W. Finson’s webpage

William G. Lycan’s webpage