Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 4

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 4

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 4

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music - Vol. 4

Excerpt

It is widely accepted that the systematic attempt to explain social interaction scientifically emerged from philosophical assumptions and from the application of philosophy as an analytical explanatory tool. Still, it is difficult to draw the line between sociological theory and social philosophy in the evolution of thought in the West. One may propose, however, that the science of society must have become differentiated from social philosophy at the point that Western man began to be aware of the possibility of self-study.

Many factors contributed to this self awareness. Patterns of life and thought, for example, which seemed fixed in the Middle Ages, no longer appeared so in later periods, giving rise to a variety of equally valid systems of knowledge. The philosophical rifts between the rationalists and the empiricists, to take another example, called attention to basic life experiences and circumstances no less than to the contents and workings of the mind. Moreover, the growing awareness of non-Western societies created pressure to define both the changing and the permanent aspects of one's own society. While this new state of affairs explains, in part, the renewed interest in history and the variety of histories, it contributed most significantly to the conceptualization of the social order.

From this point onward, social circumstances were increasingly seen as shapers not only of different patterns of life and social institutions, but of cultural mentalities as well. At the same time, social phenomena themselves were assumed, more and more, to be subject to their own varients of the “Natural Order,” i.e. to observable uniformities that can be expressed by laws. While ethnography, political economy, social and cultural history, etc. were considered indigenous constituents of all human civilizations, their particular developments and their uniqueness were attributed to sociological explanations of social phenomena and their changes, i.e., to the dynamics and organization of human interactive life.

Through its emphasis on human interaction the bond created between the social and the cultural inevitably affected the world of aesthetics and its theoretical premises. It gave rise to theories of art that connect social and cultural circumstances to “aesthetic preferences,” broadly speaking. Old subjects were scrutinized with a new look, not only by rais-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.