Music, Emotions and the Influence of the Cognitive Sciences



This article reviews some of the ways in which philosophical problems concerning music can be informed by approaches from the cognitive sciences (principally psychology and neuroscience). Focusing on the issues of musical expressiveness and the arousal of emotions by music, the key philosophical problems and their alternative solutions are outlined. There is room for optimism that while current experimental data does not always unambiguously satisfy philosophical scrutiny, it can potentially support one theory over another, and in some cases allow us to synthesize or reject traditional philosophical differences.