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

The Virtue of Irrelevance - Future Symphony Institute, Feb 19

How many writers, educators, and opinion formers, urgently wishing to convey the thoughts and feelings that inspire them, have found themselves confronted with the cry “that’s not relevant?” In the...

Gratitude for Philosophy- The Telegraph, Dec 18

I began my career as an academic philosopher, and am often asked what philosophers do. ‘Philosophy’ means ‘the love of wisdom’, but what is wisdom? Does the person with wisdom...

Groupes d'Etudes Géopolitiques Interview - Dec 18

Read the interview between Sir Roger Scruton and Laetitia Strauch-Bonart for the Geopolitical Study Group HERE.

Roger Scruton and Jordan Peterson on the Transcendent

'Apprehending the Transcendent' A conversation between Dr Jordan Peterson and Sir Roger Scruton, moderated by Dr Stephen Blackwood, introduced by Professor Douglas Hedley, presented by The Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism and Ralston College,...

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

Fri 24th May - Thurs 6th June - America

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

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

Thur 21st Feb - Wagner Society Talk, London

Fri 26 - Sat 27th April - CRASSH conference, Cambridge

Sat 15th June - Philosophy Day