Explanation and Reduction in the Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to the Musical Meaning Problem

In Andrej Démuth (ed.), The Cognitive Aspects of Aesthetic Experience – Selected Problems. Berlin: Peter Lang. pp. 39-50 (2019)
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The aim of this paper is to refer basic philosophical approaches to the problem of musical meaning and, on the other hand, to describe some examples of the research on musical meaning found in the field of cognitive neuroscience. By looking at those two approaches together it can be seen that there is still no agreement on how musical meaning should be understood, often due to several methodological problems of which the most important seem to be the possibility of inter-theoretical reduction and application of an accurate theory of explanation. I am suggesting that the application of some form of the mechanistic model of explanation might be found useful for clarifying reductionism-antireductionism dispute concerning musical meaning, and more importantly, for providing some answers for the debate in music-as-language controversy.

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Tomasz Szubart
Uniwersytet Szczeciński


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