Philosophies of Music History

By Warren Dwight Allen | Go to book overview
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Otto Henry 59 Westland Ave. Boston, Mass.


IN THE search for knowledge, one comes inevitably to the basic question, What, after all, is truth? Pursuing this direction of thought further, one discovers that there is nothing absolute, immutable, forever fixed and true, and unalterable in truth save what man, in his agreement with his fellow men, sets forth as such.

All students will agree, I believe, that man is conditioned in his thoughts, as well as in his actions, by his fellow man, by his immediate spatial and temporal environment, by influences less contiguous, by world-wide conditions, and by accumulations of the past. So much so that a one-time truth may now be considered as untrue, and vice versa. In fact, the immediate emotional and physical state of an individual may influence his conception of truth, and that conception may, at times, become generally agreed upon-- for good or ill. One may continue with this sort of reasoning even to include the so-called "exact sciences."

At any rate, one cannot ignore the part the individual himself plays in the verdict of what he considers "the truth," so that in every pronouncement of "fact" one should enquire into the "how" and the "why" of the process of arriving at the "fact," and the state of being of the very individual or individuals through whom the pronouncement is issued.

General historiographers have long been cognizant of these determinants of truth and have, at least in some of their more recent works, made due allowances for the human factors involved. Certain political propaganda the world over has made deliberate use of the plausibility of error inherent in historical thinking, with the result that not a few "time-honored facts" are being invested with new and strange significances--an expedient as old as man himself. The science of history is becoming more and more a scientific pursuit of comparisons. Man is in earnest search for the truth of truth in order to revaluate his knowledge and find a firmer basis of reasoning. There may be exasperating cross currents and diverting tacks here and there, but the trend for free questioning and re


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Philosophies of Music History


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