Research Article

Not Music, but Musics: A Case for Conceptual Pluralism in Aesthetics



We argue for conceptual pluralism about music. In our view, there is no right answer to the question ‘What is music?’ divorced from some context or interest. Instead, there are several, non-equivalent music concepts suited to different interests – from within some tradition or practice, or by way of some research question or field of inquiry. We argue (1) that unitary definitions of music are problematic, (2) that the role music concepts play in various research questions should motivate conceptual pluralism about music, and (3) that taking music pluralism seriously grounds a fruitful research programme in aesthetics. We suspect that pluralism about music is a good test case for the utility of pluralism in aesthetics more generally, and we present it as such.
  • Year: 2017
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 151-174
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.161
  • Published on 1 Sep 2017
  • Peer Reviewed