Musical Worlds and the Extended Mind

Proceedings of A Body of Knowledge - Embodied Cognition and the Arts Conference CTSA UCI, 8-10 Dec 2016 (2018)
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“4E” approaches in cognitive science see mind as embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended. They observe that we routinely “offload” part of our thinking onto body and world. Recently, 4E theorists have turned to music cognition: from work on music perception and musical emotions, to improvisation and music education. I continue this trend. I argue that music — like other tools and technologies — is a beyond-the-head resource that affords offloading. And via this offloading, music can (at least potentially) scaffold various forms of thought, experience, and behavior. To develop this idea, I consider the “material” and “worldmaking” character of music, and I apply these considerations to two cases studies: music as a tool for religious worship, and music as a weapon for torture.
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