Can a secularist appreciate religious music?

Philosophy 83 (3):391-395 (2008)
David Pugmire has argued that secularists can genuinely appreciate religious music because of our imaginative powers combined with the 'Platonic' nature of the emotions expressed in such music. I argue that Pugmire is wrong on both counts. Religious music is 'Platonic' not because it is subject to levels of imagination but because it has a definite object which makes imaginative readings inferior. Moreover, since religious music does have a clear object taken by the believer as real, a gap exists that cannot be bridged by the imagination of the secularist, even imagination of the emotional 'last instance'
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819108000740
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