Music as Affective Scaffolding

In David Clarke, Ruth Herbert & Eric Clarke (eds.), Music and Consciousness II. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract

For 4E cognitive science, minds are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended. Proponents observe that we regularly ‘offload’ our thinking onto body and world: we use gestures and calculators to augment mathematical reasoning, and smartphones and search engines as memory aids. I argue that music is a beyond-the-head resource that affords offloading. Via this offloading, music scaffolds access to new forms of thought, experience, and behaviour. I focus on music’s capacity to scaffold emotional consciousness, including the self-regulative processes constitutive of emotional consciousness. In developing this idea, I consider the ‘material’ and ‘worldmaking’ character music, and I apply these considerations to two case studies: music as a tool for religious worship, and music as a weapon for torture.

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Joel Krueger
University of Exeter

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