IV Music-Philosophy Conference

“The Role of Music and Human Nature”
Ronda, 2007

“Why does music motivate us?” wonders Steven Mithen in a book with the promising title The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body.

Steven Mithen has a universalist definition of musical fact, supported, at the very least, by the confirmation that, however distant two cultures are from each other in space and time, they share the presence (in their rituals and daily lives) of some form of music. This universalist theory logically leads to the innatist theory: the ability to produce and recognize music would be written into our genes (like—for certain subscribers to the theories of generative grammar—it is for language). Consequently, music would be an integral part of our nature.

The theory of the innate nature of music, like that of the innate nature of language, is only spared from pragmatism (that is, from a utilitarian definition of music) if the word innate is free from purely adaptive connotation, that is, if something in evolution that shapes the specific traits of human beings is considered to have escaped the economy marked by mere subsistence.

In regards to music, the issue becomes addressing utterly elemental questions for which a precise answer has not yet been found. And of course, it first leads to the central question:  Does  musical  enjoyment  contribute  to  that  subjective  and  purposeless experience with which Kant characterizes all the types of perception we consider to be aesthetic?



Javier Darías – The Role of Quantification
Simón Marchán Fiz – The Role of Music in the Heart of Creative Aspiration
E. Zulema de la Cruz An Illustration of the Common Logic Underlying the Different Definitions of Musical Fact
Gotzon Arrizabalaga – Music as a Social Unifier
Marco Music and Human Perception
Eva Laínsa –
Víctor Gómez Pin – Music and Language
Hugues Dufourt The Task of Contemporary Music
Carlos Galán – The Essential Role of
Ángel Gabilondo – Music and Writing