Musical Thought And Compositionality

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Abstract
Many philosophers and music theorists have claimed that music is a language, though whether this is meant metaphorically or literally is often unclear. If the claim is meant literally, then it faces serious difficulty—many find it compelling to think that music cannot be a language because it lacks any semantic value. On the other hand, if it is meant metaphorically, then it is not clear what is gained by the metaphor—it is not clear what the metaphor is meant to illuminate. Considering the claim as a metaphor, I take it that what a theorist who speaks in this way is trying to draw our attention to is that there are interesting and illuminating parallels between music and language that might be philosophicallysignificant. Ifthisistheirpoint,thenthequestionis:whatinteresting parallel is it that could be so philosophically significant?
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Archival date: 2019-07-26
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