between philosophy and music science (Paperback)
This dissertation attempts to answer the question: Can experimental results be used as arguments in the philosophical debates? In particular, can the results of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience be applied in normative philosophy such as aesthetics? The greatest motivation in starting this project was to determine the relationship between highly abstract, general and/or normative problems of philosophy on one hand, and the descriptive and highly specific and detailed results of the experimental research on the other hand. I chose aesthetics of music as a case study because it seemed particularly convenient for this kind of enterprise. It is built upon an assortment of abstract and sometimes vague questions such as: What is the meaning of a musical work? What kind of meaning can music possess? How does music communicate its meaning? What makes a musical work valuable? Is aesthetic value inherent to the musical work? Are all aesthetic judgments equally justified? How does music express emotions? How can music evoke emotions in the listeners? The philosophical debates around these issues have lasted for centuries, and it seems, unfortunately, that with time they have not been growing more precise, convincing nor sophisticated.