The Monist 95 (4):587-605 (2012)

James O. Young
University of Victoria
Peter Kivy and Stephen Davies developed an influential and convincing account of what features of music cause listeners to hear it as expressive of emotion. Their view (the resemblance theory) holds that music is expressive of some emotion when it resembles human expressive behaviour. Some features of music, they believe, are expressive of emotion because of conventional associations. In recent years, Kivy has rejected the resemblance theory without adopting an alternative. This essay argues that Kivy has been unwise to abandon the resemblance theory. New and compelling psychological evidence supports the theory. The essay also argues that new psychological evidence indicates that convention makes a smaller contribution to musical expressiveness than Kivy and Davies believe.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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Reprint years 2014
ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist201295429
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The Poverty of Musical Ontology.James O. Young - 2014 - Journal of Music and Meaning 13:1-19.

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