On the Destruction of Musical Instruments

Journal of Aesthetics and Culture 8 (2016)
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Abstract

In this article, I aim to provide an account of the peculiar reasons that motivate our negative reaction whenever we see musical instruments being mistreated and destroyed. Stephen Davies has suggested that this happens because we seem to treat musical instruments as we treat human beings, at least in some relevant respects. I argue in favour of a different explanation, one that is based on the nature of music as an art form. The main idea behind my account is that musical instruments are not mere tools for the production of art; rather, they are involved in an essential way in artistic appreciation of music. This fact not only grounds our negative reaction to their mistreatment and destruction but also has a normative force that is lacked by the account proposed by Davies.

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Matteo Ravasio
Peking University

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