The intersubjective community of feelings: Hegel on music

Hegel y El Proyecto de Una Enciclopedia Filosófica: Comunicaciones Del II Congreso Germano-Latinoamericano Sobre la Filosofía de Hegel (2017)
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The purpose of this article is to examine the objective side of subjectivity formation through music. I attempt to show how music is a way to configure subjectivity in its interiority, but in a way that it can be shared between other individual subjectivities. Music has an objective structure, but this structure is the temporal and sonorous interiority of subjectivity. It has as its objective manifestation and consequence the feelings and emotions. These feelings are subjective, and in the level of subjective Geist they are related to intuition. Hegel believes that such intuition cannot be properly communicated, due to its exclusive access to the individual subject himself. Despite that, music is an art, and it takes part in the level of absolute Geist. That means that music is the connection between the objective and subjective sides of Geist, being a product of social relations, including the sharing, experience and recognition of subjective operations by the participants in society as something in common. Art is related to intuition but it is not intuition itself, nor it is reduced to the capacity of intuition. All three capacities of the subjective Geist in the theoretical Geist (namely intuition, representation and thinking) can be part of the relationship between art and the individual perspective.However, the link between art and intuition is an analogy between the subjective Geist and the absolute Geist, considering that art is a level of manifestation of social self-consciousness where the people and the social group have not yet become conscious of its content in its manifestation. The exposition of the ideal content of social relations is manifested through absolute Geist, beginning with its sensible manifestation. After this process, it is signified through a practice related to representation, and finally it is related to a conceptually and linguistically mediated practice, philosophy. These products cannot be a consequence of a mere subjective connections, but must be (as part of absolute Geist) a consequence of the objective relation between individuals in its subjective manifestations. Furthermore, subjective capacities are a condition without which the development of the absolute Geist is not possible. At the same time, it is not possible that subjective Geist’s capacities can be fully realized without social relations. Science is not a product of an individual-solipsistic relationship with the environment, but a product of a social relations, including language, shared experiences and shared ways of comprehension, such as the common way to feel and receive the environment in a subjective level discussed below. I divide this exposition into three parts: (1) music and subjectivity, where I deal with the relation between body vibration, time, sound and the formal interiority of the listener/musical subject, analyzing the form of music in its subjective side (the relation to the listener); (2) music and content, where I examine the content generated by music as being the process of formation itself (i.e. the process of given form to the interiority of subjectivity through sounds becomes its own content, namely, the feelings); and (3) music and words, where I scrutinize the relationship between music and words’ capacities to make reference and to have content, considering the connection between pure music and lyrics, and between music and poetry as singular forms of art. I conclude with the idea that music has a specific role in Hegel’s system, which is to bring to light and develop absolute Geist’s (understood as the objectivation and formation of a social and cultural subjectivity) internal aesthetic form.

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Adriano Kurle
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso


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