Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp
Philosophers of music, like Charles Swann in Proust’s novel (Proust 1913/1992, p. 360), have traditionally found it difficult to utter the word ‘profound’ unironically. But this changed with Peter Kivy’s 1990 paper ‘The profundity of music’ The problem Kivy draws our attention to is this: we do call some musical works profound. However, Kivy argues, given that a work is profound only if it is about something profound and given that music (or ‘music alone’) is not about anything, this leads to something of a paradox: how can music be profound if it is not about something profound. My aim in this paper is to argue that what makes a work profound is not that it is about something profound, but that it actively challenges any straightforward interpretative activity (while at the same time nudges you to keep on trying to interpret it). I argue that this line of argument is very much in tune with Kivy’s general theoretical commitment that “music alone isn’t about anything” (Kivy 1990, p. 245).
Keywords profundity  music  metacognitive feeling
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DOI 10.1093/jaac/kpab024
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Is Perception a Propositional Attitude?Tim Crane - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236):452-469.
Narrative Explanation.J. David Velleman - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):1-25.
The Secret Life of Fluency.Daniel M. Oppenheimer - 2008 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (6):237-241.

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