Illusion of free will & music


That replacement would also make the statement a lot less Eurocentric. The assumption that most philosophers are white is likely not only ignoring other cultures, but also false.

On the topic of free will, @Shiftr do you have a definition of “free will” that you’re working with?


If we can take the statement in good faith, I think @beepboop means most “western” philosophers, of the type most often taught in philosophy courses at the university level.

Yes, there are lots of other non-European philosophers but based on the content of this thread that’s not really what’s been referenced.

In the specific context of popularly known European philosophers @beepboop’s statement makes sense.

(Edit: corrected my reference to the wrong username)


Not particularly one definition…anything that helps find any good entrance to make art or music.

The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily.

Will do.


indeed, this usage of the word “philosophy” is so prevalent that the wikipedia article for philosophy starts with the sentence ‘“History of Western philosophy” redirects here’

to try to remove “white men” from the above sentence, while seeming superficially more inclusive to me runs the risk of papering over just how bad philosophy as it is commonly understood—an academic institution—is by these metrics.

somewhat related:

-17% of philosophers in the us are women
-of philosophers in the uk, 5 are black. (not a percentage, literally 5)


G. Lucas Crane did a series at Clocktower Gallery (RIP) called Moral Kombat. Two musicians improvise and a mysterious box set between them will make a judgement at the end of the performance. It determines which performer was improvising with greater “morality”, thus making their performance contain greater purity or beauty or something.


Curious as to why you think music doesn’t involve free will. It strikes me as being a paradigm case for the exercise of free will. There was nothing compelling Mozart, e.g., to choose the particular notes he selected; he could have picked any others; his unique genius as a composer/performer was precisely due to his selection of ones that iterated his aesthetic concept of the work, which (coincidentally) then met with popular acclaim.


Interestingly—well, depending on your perspective I suppose, it’s quite possible that everything I’m gonna write seems needlessly academic—I think there’s room for disagreement here! In some sense it’s not at all a coincidence that Mozart knew how to write music that would please his audiences. After all, he had been performing some of the most popular works of his age since he was very young, which led him into the acquaintance of well-known composers whom he doubtless learned from or was influenced by, etc etc.

I don’t really want to push this too far—I definitely agree that there are aspects of Mozart’s work that are uniquely his. Just to suggest that his genius was not solitary, Ayn Rand-ian might by which alone he gave us such beautiful works. Instead, I actually find it interesting to consider the relationships and social conditions that made it possible for Mozart’s genius to blossom as it did.


I kind of hate the word, but it’s what Eno is describing with the term “scenious” - that “genius” doesn’t emerge in solitude, but is the output of a social context/community.

Also Ayn Rand … well, not much more to say about that :slight_smile:


I love it when @alanza and @emenel rescue me from typing several paragraphs of run-on sentences.


@alanza - surely you don’t contend that commercial appeal or popularity is a precondition to the aesthetic validity of a work of art. The work of art is best validated by whether it successfully iterates the artist’s intentions. Other approaches lead to a “lowest common denominator” type of analysis, which must be anathema to many of the artists on this forum who struggle to find an audience, yet successfully create beautiful works.


Certainly not! yet at the same time, I think it’s worth considering other dimensions of the value of a work of art. I really like your criterion! However, if it’s to be our only one, who can say except the artist herself, then, whether a work is valid or successful?

Just 'cause I felt like sharing an example, anecdotally Pynchon calls The Crying of Lot 49 a “quickie potboiler” and “a short story with gland trouble”. Even if we’re to take him solely at his word here (I think we neither have to nor should), I don’t think it follows that we should think of it as a failure or just a minor work.