Christopher Peacocke (Columbia University): Understanding the Content of Music: Its Nature and Significance (2)

24 March, 2023 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Facultat de Filosofia i Ciències de l'Educació (Universitat de València)
Aula F11
Av. Blasco Ibáñez 30, 46010

Second lecture on “Understanding the Content of Music” by Professor Christopher Peacocke as part of the VLC Philosophy Lab Colloquium series. 


I will be applying the resources and techniques of contemporary philosophy of mind in an attempt to understand the content of music and its power. When we hear an emotion or some other state in a piece of music, we can ask two questions: How is our perception of the music related to that emotion or state? And how is that emotion or state given to us in the perception (under what mode of presentation, as Frege would say)? I will be addressing both questions; but over the years a plausible answer to the second, often neglected, question has come to seem to me to suggest an explanation of many of the most distinctive features of music. In developing answers to these two questions, I will consider issues about the way music acquaints us with mental states; about the nature of expressive action; about the idea of the ineffability of musical content; and about the source of the power of opera. As time permits, I will also consider the application of these ideas to empirical issues about music perception; to the role of agency in music perception; and the extension of this approach to the perception of poetry.

Link to the first lecture.

Supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Government of Spain) MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033, Grants PID2019-106420GA-100 and RYC2021-033972-I, and the European Union «NextGenerationEU»/PRTR.