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POSTPONED: Philosophical Discussion on Music 2

From: 2020-05-04 To:2020-05-04

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  • Thematic Line

    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group

    Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge
  • Seminar, 4th May 2020.

    Philosophical Discussion on Music II

    4th May 2020 — Sala de reuniões 2

    Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto
    Via Panorâmica s/n

    Postponed due to the Covid19 pandemic.
    To be reschedulled for 2021.



    Andrew Kania (Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas)
    Hugo Luzio (Universidade de Lisboa)
    Vitor Guerreiro (Universidade do Porto)


    In the world of music, one keeps stumbling upon metaphysical puzzles that pop up, so to speak, like magic mushrooms at the most familiar and unexpected places. Here is one example: John Densmore, drummer of the notorious 1960s rock band The Doors, famously sued his former bandmates for using the name and logo of the original band, when in fact they were playing in what, according to Densmore, was a sui generis tribute or cover band, that just happened to include two surviving members of the original band. Though this raises interesting issues about the identity of musical ensembles (such as rock bands) through time, the fact is that musical traditions outside the much more widely discussed  (in aesthetics books at least) western classical canon, such as rock and jazz, are ripe with musical-philosophical puzzles of their own - puzzles about the music itself, not just about the musicians. Are a jazz standard, a rock track in an album and a cover song all in a par with musical works in the classical tradition? (In the ontological sense: are they the same kind of thing?)

    One of the tasks of the ontology of art, according with David Davies, is to locate the “focus of appreciation”, what we identify as the work in music. In the classical tradition, “the work” is usually identified with a sort of abstract “sound structure”, specified by a notation or score that is to be instantiated in performances. Although some philosophers (e.g. Julian Dodd) take works in the classical tradition as paradigms of musical entity tout court, and argue that the distance between rock songs and jazz standards, on the one side, and classical pieces, on the other, is far lesser than it seems, comparative ontology of music suggests a wider diversity of “musical things” that can perform the role of “focus of appreciation”. On the surface, a live rendition of a rock song and a cover of that song by a tribute band are both performances of the work, in the same sense that a certain sequence of sounds is a performance of, say, the Moonlight Sonata. But upon closer inspection, as is usual in philosophy, Moonlight Drive and Moonlight Sonata turn out to be quite different sorts of beasts.

    To discuss these issues with us, and as a foretaste of his upcoming book on the subject (dealing also with the issue of pop/rock song covers), the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Porto welcomes Andrew Kania, Professor of Philosophy at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. Andrew Kania works in the philosophy of music, as well as the philosophy of film, having also written on other subjects in aesthetics, and is the editor, together with Ted Gracyk, of the Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music.

    Hugo Luzio, who is currently writing a thesis on personal identity and has published papers on the philosophy of music (being a musician himself), will also present his work on the subject, based on a paper recently published in the Belgrade University Journal “Philosophy and Society”: http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0353-5738/2019/0353-57381901073L.pdf

    This session is a continuation of the event held at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, on May 22, 2019 - Philosophical Discussion on Music.


    Image: Jean-Michel Basquiat, King Zulu, 1986.

    Vitor Guerreiro (Instituto de Filosofia, Universidade do Porto)
    Hugo Luzio (Lancog, Centro de Filosofia, Universidade de Lisboa)

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