Music and what it is like: What a phenomenology of perception tells us about the experience of music

Chavah I Schwartz, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op.125 is one of his most brilliant and influential musical compositions. However, at the time that he writes his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven is completely deaf. Beethoven exhibits a unique situation where his mind is unaffected in its ability to continue creating new music even though his body is effected in its ability to experience music. Theories of mind, like reductive physicalism and non-reductive dualism, offer a way of understanding Beethoven’s conscious experiences of music in relation to physical or non-physical information about mental phenomena associated with conscious experience. Yet, these theories of mind are unable to fully explain conscious experience because there is information about conscious experience that eludes physical and non-physical information about mental phenomena associated with conscious experience because conscious experience does not depend on the mind. Rather, a phenomenological approach to conscious experience reveals information about conscious experience that is only available because of the body. Through a phenomenology of perception, we can understand how it is that the body provides information about conscious experience that makes it possible to understand how a deaf Beethoven is able to continue to participate in the world of music as a composer, but not as a listener.^

Subject Area

Philosophy

Recommended Citation

Schwartz, Chavah I, "Music and what it is like: What a phenomenology of perception tells us about the experience of music" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10151416.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10151416

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