Soul Music

How we describe pop music proves that we find moral significance in music. How do we tell what music we should and should not encourage?

“The ways of poetry and music are not changed anywhere without change in the most important laws of the city.” So wrote Plato in The Republic (4.424c). And Plato is famous for having given what is perhaps the first theory of character in music, proposing to allow some modes and to forbid others according to the character which can be heard in them. Plato deployed the concept of mimesis, or imitation, to explain why bad character in music encourages bad character in its devotees. The context suggests that he had singing, dancing, and marching in mind rather than the silent listening that we know from the concert hall. But, however we fill out the details, there is no doubt that music, for Plato, was something that could be judged in the same moral terms we judge one another, and that the terms in question denoted virtues and vices like nobility, dignity, temperance, and chastity on the one hand, and sensuality, belligerence, and indiscipline on the other.

To read the full article visit American Enterprise Insitute 

Latest Articles

'Big business once cherished workers. Now it exploits them' Spectator Life - 21 Feb 18

Victorian capitalists belonged to the same town as those who worked for them. They could not escape the demands of the neighbourhood. After two decades in which it was assumed...

"The Tories will convince voters if they put the national interest first" The Daily Telegraph Comment - Feb 18

The Brexit crisis has thrown up a new division in politics – May will need a philosophy to succeedThe Brexit negotiations have made the national interest into the central topic...

'Sir Roger to the Rescue' - Stephen Presser, Law & Liberty

Those of us who read for a living read a lot, and we rarely come across a work that is, simply stated, dazzling and delightful. Even rarer is one dazzling,...

'The Burdens of Belonging: Roger Scruton's National State' American Affairs - Dec 17

From his position as the dean of English conservatism, Roger Scruton explains the ideas, habits, and traditions that made the West a civilization not only of immense learning and wealth,...

Recent Books

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Bloomsbury (November 2017) Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity,...

Conservatism: Ideas in Profile

Conservatism: Ideas in Profile

Profile Books (August 2017) Roger Scruton looks at the central ideas of conservatism over the centuries. He examines conservative thinking on civil society, the rule of law and the role...

On Human Nature

On Human Nature

Princeton University Press (February 2017) In this short book, acclaimed writer and philosopher Roger Scruton presents an original and radical defense of human uniqueness. Confronting the views of evolutionary psychologists,...

2018 Events

Scrutopia Summer School 2018

22 Feb - UCL event

8/9 Mar - Ghent University

22 Mar - Philosophy Cafe, Oxford

7 Mar - VWH Vintners’ Hall Dinner

22 Mar - The Oxford Literary Festival

Copyright © Roger Scruton. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Mindvision