Appearance Emotionalism in Music: Analysis and Criticism

Journal of Aesthetic Education 53 (3):93 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper is composed of two related parts. The first raises questions regarding the characterisation of the phenomenology of music listening required by Davies’s theory of musical expressiveness, appearance emotionalism. I will identify two possible readings of the theory, a thick and a thin one, and claim that the former represents the basic characterisation of what it is to hear expressive music according to appearance emotionalism. The thick characterisation is to be preferred, I will claim, both on the grounds of textual evidence and of overall consistency and explanatory power. The second part of the paper discusses a criticism of appearance emotionalism I advanced in a recently published paper, along with its consequences for aesthetic education. In the remainder of the paper, I address Davies’s twofold reply to my objection. I will contend that both replies fail to address at least some of the problems I raised. The first reply fails because of Davies’s own view of emotions, while the seconds fails if one accepts the thick characterisation of appearance emotionalism I offer in the first half of the paper.

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Matteo Ravasio
Peking University

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