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

Can Europe learn from communism?

I confess, I am an anti-communist. During the 1970s and 1980s, anti-communists were shunned in the UK’s universities. After all, we were attacking the revolution that offered to liberate mankind...

Speech of the President during the award ceremony of Roger Scruton

Dear Mr. Speaker,Dear Madam President,Ladies and gentlemen, Ministers,but above all, Dear Professor, our distinguished guest,Dear Ladies and Gentlemen! I am delighted that I could today honour Mr. Professor with the...

Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland

Tuesday 4th June exactly 30 years on from the date when democracy began to be restored in Poland, Sir Roger has been given a state honour by President Andrzej Duda: “Recognising...

Post Truth

Post-Truth Roger Scruton For as long as there have been politicians they have lied, fabricated, and deceived. However commentators are beginning to tell us that something has changed in the...

Recent Books

Souls in the Twilight

Beaufort Books  (October 2018) As the lights that have guided us go out, people begin to wander in the twilight, seeking their place of belonging. In these stories, set in...

Music as an Art

Bloomsbury  (August 2018) Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German...

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,...

2019 Events

Wed 31st Jul - Fri 9th Aug - 2019 Scrutopia Summer School

Thur 29th Aug - Sun 1st Sept - Scrutopia Alumni Meeting 

Sat 15th June - Philosophy Day

Thurs 19th Sept - ISI Gala for Western Civilization, Philadelphia

Sat 29th June - Sat 6th July - Brazil

Thurs 22nd Aug - Edinburgh Book Festival