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Philosophy, Music and Emotion explores two contentious issues in contemporary philosophy: the nature of music's pow

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Geoffrey Madell

Edinburgh University Press

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

This page intentionally left blank

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Geoffrey Madell

Edinburgh University Press

#

Geoffrey Madell, 2002

Edinburgh University Press Ltd 22 George Square, Edinburgh

Typeset in Bembo by Hewer Text Ltd, Edinburgh, and printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Ltd, Bodmin, Cornwall

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 0 7486 1612 8 (hardback)

The right of Geoffrey Madell to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Contents

Preface

vii

Introduction

Chapter 1 Contour and Convention Contour

1

5 8

Convention

17

Do We `Animate' Musical Gestures?

25

Chapter 2 Emotivism

29

Objectless Feelings

31

Sympathy, Empathy, or Identification?

39

Conclusion

41

Chapter 3 Music's Arousal of Emotion

45

Why Hanslick is Wrong

45

Music's Arousal of Emotion

50

Chapter 4 The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position Conclusion

Chapter 5 Emotion, Judgement and Desire

56 64

67

Why the Standard Judgementalist View of Emotion is Untenable

67

Desire and Intentional Feeling

69

Why not all Reason-providing Desires have an Affective Dimension What is the Exact Role of Intentional Feeling?

73 74

vi

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Chapter 6 Pleasure and Emotion

82

The Threat of Hedonism

83

Hedonistic Pleasure and our Experience of Music

89

Pleasure as a Mode of Attention

92

A Resolution of the Conflicting Positions

95

The Analysis of Pleasure and Music's Expression of Emotion

98

The Indispensability of the Notion of Intentional Feeling

101

Reason-following Desire, and Taking Pleasure in what has Objective Value

102

Chapter 7 The Nature of Emotion

105

The Relation between the Affective and the Intentional Components of Emotion

111

The Nature of Emotion and Music's Expression of Emotion

Chapter 8 Music's Expression of Emotion Emotions in Musical and in Non-musical Contexts

118

121 124

Hanslick Again

129

Are there any Emotions that Music cannot Express?

132

Some Remaining Difficulties

135

Chapter 9 Retrospect

Bibliography Index

144

158 161

Preface

In this book I argue that the nature of music's power to express emotion has been seriously misunderstood, and that this misunderstanding stems from an approach to the nature of emotion shared by Hanslick and by contemporary cognitivist analyses of emotion. I develop an account of emotion radically different from the standard view, an account which rests on a detailed examination of the concepts of desire and pleasure, an examination which yields a radically new account of both these concepts. This analysis provides the basis for a new account of what it means to say that music can express emotion.

vii

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Introduction

This book is the result of reflections on two topics which have interested me in recent years. The first topic is the question of what it means to say that music can express emotion. The second issue is the nature of emotion itself. There is, of course, a very large contemporary literature devoted to both these topics, but, as it seems to me, this literature suffers from fairly major flaws. I came to feel that neither the current accounts of what it means to say that music expresses emotion, nor those of the nature of emotion itself are satisfactory. Moreover, I became increasingly convinced that the fundamental reason why contemporary accounts of music's power to express emotion are unsatisfactory is that they assume the truth of the dominant `cognitivist' analysis of emotion, an analysis which

is

entirely

consonant

with

a

highly

influential

position

developed by the nineteenth-century music critic Eduard Hanslick. The view which I try to sustain in this book is that a proper understanding of what it is for music to express emotion points to a conception standard

of

the

cognitivist

nature

of

position.

emotion very different from We

cannot,

I

argue,

the

understand

music's power to express emotion unless we reject what has been the dominant account of the nature of emotion. That account, I argue, is in any case open to basic objections other than its failure to make sense of our musical experience. In Chapter 1, `Contour and Convention', I outline the case against the claim that music can express `garden-variety' emotion, the case which is common to both Hanslick and the dominant contemporary

account

of

emotion.

I

outline

the

two

main

contemporary responses to the Hanslickian/cognitivist position, responses which accept this position, but attempt to show that there is nevertheless sense to be given to talk of music's expression

1

2

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

of emotion. I focus on the first of these, which claims that the basis of our ascription of emotional qualities to music lies in resemblances between musical `gestures' and human behaviour and posture which is expressive of emotion. I argue that there is no such resemblance, except of a very broad sort. Proponents of this position all accept that harmony contributes centrally to the expressiveness of music, and that this expressiveness is not a matter of resemblance to human expressive behaviour.

I

examine

the

claim

that

this

expressiveness

rests

on

arbitrary conventions. I argue that a view which sees music's power to express emotion to lie in behavioural resemblance to human expressive gesture (a similarity of `contour' to use Kivy's term) together with a purely conventional input is profoundly mistaken. I conclude that this expressiveness must lie in features which are grounded in the nature of sound itself, however we place

constructions

on

these

features,

such

as

that

of

equal

temperament. In Chapter 2, `Emotivism', I examine the other main approach to the question of what it can mean to say that at least some music is expressive of emotion, given the truth of the Hanslickian/ cognitivist view of emotion, and that is the claim that music does indeed

arouse

feelings,

but

that

these

feelings

are

essentially

objectless, akin to moods, perhaps. I conclude that no variant of this view can succeed. In particular, there is no way in which the posited feelings can be shown to be necessarily connected to the music, rather than merely the contingent effects of listening to music, becoming, inevitably, the main object of attention. I also reject the suggestion that listening to music arouses feelings akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response as to a person. In

Chapter

3,

`Music's

Arousal

of

Emotion',

I

argue

that

Hanslick's influential argument is in fact deeply confused. Attention to our musical experience ought to be enough to convince us that music does indeed arouse emotion, and that such emotions are not mood-like objectless feelings, but

fully intentional feelings ±

emotions, in fact ± whose object is always a musical event or feature. I try to make clear the central confusions about the place of conceptualisation in emotional experience that underlie Hanslick's argument. I note for later investigation the point that there may be

some

emotions which music cannot express.

In Chapter 4 I discuss in turn what I take to be the advantages

3

Introduction

of what I have called `the new arousalist position', which accepts that music arouses `garden-variety' emotions, whose intentional objects are musical events. In Chapters 5, 6 and 7 I broaden the discussion to show that this view of music's power to express emotion, that it arouses fully intentional states of feeling whose intentional object is always a musical event, is fully consonant with a proper account of the nature of emotion. Chapter 5, `Emotion, Judgement and Desire', is devoted to an examination of the dominant judgementalist account of emotion. I argue that it is deeply flawed. The judgementalist, or `cognitivist', view of emotion inevitably sees feeling as an incidental and essentially irrelevant aspect of emotion; the usual view is that it is bodily

feeling

evaluations

of

caused a

by

certain

the

sort.

entertaining An

of

examination

judgements of

an

or

essential

component of most (but not all) emotions, that of desire, shows that this is wholly untenable. The relevant feelings are

intentional

feelings, states of `feeling towards', and they are essential to an understanding of value and motivation. Chapter 6, `Pleasure and Emotion', is concerned with the nature

of

Pleasure hedonist

another

is

neither

construes

essential a it,

component

non-intentional nor

a

species

of

state of

emotion: of

pleasure.

feeling,

evaluation

as

the

(`positive

appraisal'), but a sub-species of the form of intentional feeling which is warm desire; it is, I argue, warm desire which is in part coincident with its own satisfaction. I show how this account impinges on our understanding of what it is for music to express emotions, most of which are pleasurable. Chapter 7, `The Nature of Emotion', presents the view of emotion

which,

I

claim,

must

replace

the

judgementalist

or

cognitivist conception. Emotions, on the revised view, are states of intentional feeling with a variety of possible objects. Typically, the object is an evaluatively characterised state of affairs, but the object may be, simply, a person or an object in the world; in the realm of musical experience, the object of the emotions which are aroused is always a musical state or event. In Chapter 8, `Music's Expression of Emotion', I try to show how the results of the discussion of the previous three chapters should affect our understanding of what it is for music to express emotion. I introduce a final assessment of the Hanslickian posi-

4

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

tion, and ask whether there are any emotions which music is precluded from expressing. Chapter 9 is devoted to an overview of the whole argument. Some of the central ideas in this book were originally sketched in two articles of mine: `What Music Teaches About Emotion',

Philosophy Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume

, 1996, and `Emotion and Feeling', ,

, 1997.

Proceedings of the

Chapter 1

Contour and Convention

Everyone

accepts

that

a

great

deal

of

music

is

expressive

of

emotion, though people differ as to how much of the music of the past can be described in this way. Some claim that only the music of the Romantic era can be thought of as expressive in this way, while others maintain that it is comparatively rare to find music in the Western tradition which is in no way expressive of emotion. I have no intention of exploring this issue, since it is enough for my purposes that there is general agreement that music sometimes expresses emotion. My concern is with the question: what does it mean to say of any piece of music that it is expressive of emotion? That is a question on which a great deal has been written in recent years. My excuse for adding to this literature is that I think nearly all of it has been distorted by the acceptance of what was until recently the dominant view of the nature of emotion. I shall argue that this view is false. I shall try to show that a proper understanding of what it is for music to express emotion leads us to a view of the nature of emotion very different from the dominant view. There are many reasons for rejecting the dominant view, but one reason which I shall emphasise is that it cannot allow a proper understanding of musical emotion. Understanding what it is for music to express emotion has, therefore, an importance which reaches beyond the narrow question of the nature of music's power to express emotion. This book, therefore, is a study of the nature of emotion introduced by an investigation into the nature of musical emotion. The dominant and, until recently, almost universally accepted analysis of emotion in analytic philosophy is generally termed the

cognitivist

5

view

of

emotion,

though

I

prefer

Patricia

6

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Greenspan's term `judgementalist', since on the view in question emotions

are

essentially

species

of

judgement

or

evaluation

which characteristically produce certain states of feeling. The term `cognitivist' in fact is clearly misplaced: one who is afraid of ghosts has some sort of belief, but cognises nothing. Be that as it may, proponents of the judgementalist approach have argued that a central advantage of their position is that it frees us from the

old

belief

that

each

emotion-term

denotes

a

distinctive

feeling, a view which they attribute to Descartes and Hume among others,

1

and which, it is claimed, is quite mistaken. What

distinguishes one emotion from another on the judgementalist view is the judgement or evaluation at its core. The feelings which are associated with emotion are not what is definitive of emotion, and, it is argued, it is in any case implausible to suggest that each emotion is characterised by a distinctive quality of feeling: shame and embarrassment are distinct emotions, but the claim that they differ as states of feeling is surely incorrect, even though these emotions usually result in states of feeling. Feelings as such, it was held, are relatively rough-grained. Moreover, it is only when we accept that emotions are essentially judgements, whatever states of feeling such judgement bring in their train, that we can understand how reference to emotion can explain behaviour, and also why it is that emotions can be assessed as rational or irrational, justified or unjustified. Most of those who have written on emotion in the analytic tradition recently have accepted some version of this view, and most of those who have written on music and emotion have also accepted it. Writers on music have also been very influenced in developing their views on the nature of music's expression of emotion by a famous argument which dates from well before the analytic tradition in philosophy, that of the music critic Eduard Hanslick. Although Hanslick wrote in the late nineteenth century,

his

central

argument

is

very

much

in

accord

with

the

dominant contemporary view of emotion. Hanslick claimed that music cannot `represent' emotion, since it lacks the conceptual means, either to designate the object of any emotion or to express a

thought

about

such

an

object.

What

transforms

indefinite

feeling into definite emotion, Hanslick asserted, is judgement. The

feeling

of

hope,

for

example,

is

`inseparable

from

the

conception of a happier state to come', and the feeling of sadness

Contour and Convention

7

`involves the notion of a past happiness'. If we exclude these conceptions from consciousness, Hanslick says, nothing remains `but a vague sense of motion which at best could not rise above a general feeling of satisfaction or discomfort'. `Only by virtue of ideas and judgement', he continues, `can an indefinite state of mind pass into definite feeling'. any

such

represent

definite any

idea

definite

or

2

Music is incapable of expressing

judgement,

emotion.

and

Malcolm

cannot Budd

therefore

summarises

Hanslick's argument in the following way.

The conclusion of Hanslick's argument is that it is not possible to represent definite feelings or emotions by purely musical means. His argument

may

be

rendered

this

way:

(i)

Music

can

not

represent

thoughts. (ii) Definite feelings and emotions, hope sadness and love, for example, involve or contain thoughts. Therefore (iii) music cannot represent feelings or emotions.

3

And Roger Scruton puts Hanslick's point in a very similar way.

Every emotion requires an object: fear is fear

about

of something, anger is anger

something. We can distinguish emotions and classify them only

because we can distinguish and classify their (intentional) objects; and we can do

this

only because we can identify the thoughts through which

those objects are

defined.

In

this case,

it is difficult to

see how a

nonrepresentational art like music can really have a genuine expressive content. It

would

be impossible to

describe that

[intentional] object could never be defined.

Those

who

have

been

influenced

content, since

its

4

by

this

argument

have

claimed that it shows that music is incapable not only of representing any definite emotion, but also of evoking or arousing it. Peter

Kivy,

Hanslick's

for

case

example, against

the

says

that

it

is

`representation

perfectly theory

clear of

that

musical

expression' is equally cogent against `the arousal theory'

5

It is

clear why he thinks this: it would seem, for example, a necessary condition of being aroused to indignation that one should have a certain conception of the state of affairs about which one is indignant, and the conceptual means to express a thought about it. Contemporary analyses of the expressiveness of music have all assumed the broad correctness of the judgementalist construal of emotion, and all have accepted that Hanslick's basic point needs

8

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

to be acknowledged in some way. Nevertheless, the claim that music succeeds in expressing at least some emotions is agreed by nearly everyone to be an obvious truth. How can one fail to see the Prelude to

Tristan

to be expressive of yearning, or the last

movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto to be expressive of joy and delight? The main approach to the question of the nature of music's power to express emotion has therefore centred on the attempt to accommodate the essence of Hanslick's argument in a way which allows us to accept that music can indeed express emotion. There have been two main ways of achieving this end. The first has been the claim that music expresses emotion in virtue of

exhibiting

features

which

are

similar

to

human

gestures,

including vocal gestures, which are expressive of emotion. The second

is

the

view

that

music

does

indeed

evoke

or

arouse

feelings, but that these feelings are essentially objectless, akin to moods, and thus do not require of music that it should identify any putative object, still less that it should spell out a belief or judgement about such an object. Some views seem to combine elements from both these approaches. There are varieties of the `arousalist' position that hold that music arouses emotion in us just because it reflects or mirrors human expressive behaviour. Indeed, it is difficult to see what it is about music which could arouse objectless

moods

if

it

is

not

some

such

similarity

to

human

behaviour. I shall attempt to show that neither of these approaches allows us to make sense of what it is for music to express emotion. Both of them issue from the acceptance of the dominant `judgementalist' view of emotion, and from Hanslick's application of this view to the question of music's expressiveness. A proper understanding of what it is for music to express emotion will require the rejection of the judgementalist account of emotion. A satisfactory analysis of the expressiveness of music in fact both rests on and supports a conception of the nature of emotion very different from the standard cognitivist view.

Contour I

begin

my

influential

discussion

account

of

of

the

the first

issue

by

approach

examining I

a

highly

mentioned

above,

the view that music expresses emotion in virtue of exhibiting

Contour and Convention

9

similarities to human expressive behaviour. The view in question is that of Peter Kivy. Kivy accepts without modification Hanslick's claim that, as Kivy puts it, music cannot arouse `garden-variety' emotions, but, he claims, music may nevertheless express emotion. It does so, in the main, by

resembling

human expressive behaviour. The musical

gesture is expressive of emotion in virtue of resembling a human gesture in which a particular emotion is manifested, by having a `contour' which resembles the contour of an expressive human gesture.

6

To take an obvious example, sad music is sad in virtue of

`behaving' like a sad person: moving slowly, and speaking with a low voice. If this fundamental point is accepted, then Hanslick's central objection to the claim that music can be expressive of emotion is no longer troublesome. One may see a human gesture as expressive of emotion, but that gesture does not designate an object of the emotion, nor does it express a judgement about such an object; nevertheless, it conveys emotion. In much the same way, a musical gesture may be seen as expressive of emotion, even though it, as Hanslick pointed out, cannot represent an object, nor can it express a judgement about any object. `Normally', Scruton claims, `we hear musical gestures as we might see a man gesticulating objects of them.'

7

to

an

unseen

his feeling,

audience,

perhaps

perhaps remaining

guessing

at

the

entirely ignorant

of

The thought is developed explicitly as an answer to

Hanslick in the following passage:

[W]e should remind ourselves that emotions are not identified only through their objects, but also through their subjects, and the behaviour whereby a subject expresses them. Suppose you are walking in a quiet place; turning a corner, you come across a woman who sits on a bench, head in hands, quietly weeping. Your heart goes out in sympathy towards her emotion: you know nothing of its object; but you have a strong and immediate

sense

of

its

intentionality

±

as

you

might

see

an

arrow

pointing, without knowing where. The release of sympathy here is not irrational or confused: it is a clear response to a clear situation.

8

Kivy accepts that there are important aspects of music which contribute to its expressiveness, but which cannot, apparently, be accounted for on the `contour' model. Foremost of these is the contribution of harmony. The difference between a statement of the same theme in a major key, and then in the minor, can often

10

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

be expressively very telling, and Kivy gives an example of this from the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (see Fig. 1.1).

Figure 1.1 Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, last movement.

He acknowledges that the contrasting statements of the opening phrase of the `Ode to Joy' theme, first in the major and then in the minor, have an expressive force which cannot be explained as a matter of resemblance to human expressive gesture: there is no such thing as behaving major-ly or minor-ly. The contrast in the expressive

force

of

these

aspects

is,

he

claims,

a

matter

of

convention. In a somewhat elaborate development of his thesis he does indeed argue that `all expressiveness by convention was originally expressiveness by contour', a development which, I shall later argue, is very difficult to understand and ultimately incoherent. However, whether the aspect of convention can be subsumed under that of contour, thus presenting a unified theory of expression, is perhaps not a point of central importance. The important point, I claim, is that neither the notion of contour nor that of convention can do the work that Kivy wants them to do. This I shall now try to establish. It seems to me that the claim that the expressiveness of music is in the main a matter of resemblance between musical and human

Contour and Convention

11

expressive gesture cannot be sustained. There are, to begin with, far too many examples one could mention of pairs of musical `gestures' that are very similar with respect to their `behavioural' aspect,

but

differ

very

markedly

in

their

expressive

import.

Consider, for example, the contrast between the slow movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and the broad theme in the last movement of Sibelius' 3rd Symphony. Both move with a slow, steady tread,

9

both `speak with a low voice'; but they differ

very markedly in their expressive character. The Beethoven has a solemn and almost funereal character, whereas the Sibelius is outgoing, strong and affirmative. It is clear that the main burden of the expressive content of these two themes is conveyed not by any similarity between the contour of the theme and some human expressive gesture, but by the contrasting harmonic character of the two themes. Consideration of `behavioural' features suggests only the broadest of constraints on the expressive character of the music: it is clear, for example, that neither theme could retain its expressive character if it moved quickly, at a dancing pace. But to acknowledge this point does nothing to weaken the claim which is suggested by a consideration of this sort of example. What is indicated

from

the

outset

is

that

in

the

main

the

expressive

character of music is conveyed not by any similarity between musical

and

human

expressive

gesture,

but

primarily

by

the

harmonic character of the music, a feature for which there are no behavioural analogues. Of course, melody is also an important factor which contributes to the expressive character of the music, but it is quite wrong to suppose that it does so by describing a contour which

resembles

human expressive gestures. On the

contrary, it does so in virtue of containing points of tension and relaxation which are harmonic in their implications I want to sustain the claim I have just made by taking a particular example Kivy uses to argue for his `contour' view. I shall try to show why the notion of contour has very little to contribute to an analysis of the expressiveness of music, and is in fact a notion which embodies a number of confusions. Kivy discusses a passage from Bach's Cantata No. 78, Jesu, der du meine

Seele, which, he says, has a `restless' quality.

10

The restless quality is imparted by the presence of the diminished triad in the third bar, which contradicts the movement of the melodic line to an apparent resting place, a G-major chord,

12 and

Philosophy, Music and Emotion causes

it

to

continue,

`even

as

the

restless,

emotionally

distracted person sits down in one place only to feel impelled to get up and go somewhere else at once'. The diminished triad thus `helps give contour to the melody it underlies, and the contour it imparts can be seen to resemble expressive behaviour of a particular kind'.

Figure 1.2 Bach's Cantata No. 78.

There are two fundamental reasons why, as it seems to me, this cannot be right, both of which tell against the claim that the expressiveness of the music lies in the similarity of the musical contour to that of an expressive human gesture. The first is that the bare contour of the melody can suggest no particular emotion at all. The contour of this melody (in the crucial bar) comprises a downward movement followed by an upward movement. The claim that that in itself suggests the behaviour of a restless person, sitting down and then immediately getting up again, seems to be quite without justification. Why should the musical line suggest the behaviour of a restless person, rather than, say, the motion of a swimmer diving into a pool and rising to the surface? What conveys emotion in the case of the restless person is not a mere pattern

of

movement,

but

the

total

context

in

which

that

behaviour occurs. That is, anyone sitting in an armchair would normally

be

assumed

to

want

to

relax,

so

that

his

or

her

immediately getting up again strongly suggests restlessness. But someone behaving in that way in a furniture store, trying one chair

after

another,

or

participating

in

a

party-game

which

requires one to move on from chair to chair, would not be taken to be restless. What would be conveyed in the first case is

Contour and Convention

13

that that person doesn't find that particular chair satisfactory, and nothing at all is suggested in the second case, except a willingness to play the game. Certainly, we often ascribe emotions to people on the basis of their

behaviour.

context;

it

context.

The

cannot

is

But

not

a

that mere

pattern

ground

an

of

behaviour

takes

pattern

of

movement

without

movement,

considered

in

ascription

of

emotion.

place

The

in

a

certain any

isolation,

ascription

of

emotion is generally a holistic affair, and usually depends on knowledge of the particular context in which the gesture was made. To take another example, it is not the manifestation of a number of swift and jerky movements which alone expresses agitation, for such movements could well be practised by a boxer as part of his training regime. Once again, it is often the context in which these movements occur which justifies the ascription of anger. The suggestion that some supposed resemblance between the mere shape or `contour' of the melodic line and human expressive gesture provides the ground for the ascription of emotional terms to the music cannot, therefore, be sustained. A mere sequence of movement is generally not enough to indicate any particular emotion, and similarly the mere shape of a melodic line considered in isolation cannot express a particular emotion. With respect to human gestures, it is often the context of the gesture which pinpoints the emotion, as I have suggested. However, it is also often the case that the gesture

together with facial expression

will

be sufficient to express a precise emotion. This latter point may suggest the following parallel with musical `gestures': just as the human

gesture

sufficient

to

together

convey

a

with

precise

facial

expression

emotion,

so

the

will

often

contour

be

of

a

melodic phrase together with its underlying harmony will be sufficient to express an exact emotion. The trouble with this suggestion should be clear from what I have already said: it is that in introducing the element of harmony we introduce something which really does not have any parallel to human behaviour. The suggestion that the aspect of harmony might be seen as somehow parallel to the place of facial expression in grounding the ascription of emotion cannot be maintained, and in fact no one who has argued for a `contour'-type view has made this claim. Kivy, for example, does not attempt to connect the

14

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

aspect of facial expression with that of harmony. He does indeed argue that harmony contributes to the contour of the music, and that it is the resemblance between such contour and human expressive gestures, including facial expressions, which explains the expressive power of music. He does not, however, try to show any specific link between harmony as such and that aspect of human

expressive

behaviour

which

is

contributed

by

facial

expression. His treatments of the way harmony contributes to the contour of the music, on the one hand, and the way musical contour can sometimes be seen to resemble facial expression, on the other, are independent of each other. I shall look first at what Kivy has to say about harmony, and then say something about his treatment

of

the

parallel

between

musical

contour

and

facial

expression. Kivy attempts to show that harmonic factors actually contribute to

overall

contour.

Thus,

in

the

Bach

example,

above,

the

diminished triad is claimed to contribute to the restless contour of the music, causing it to go on and contradicting the apparent movement to a point of rest. But in fact, far from such harmonic factors contributing to the contour of the music, and in this case actually causing the music to adopt a certain contour which is deemed to be expressive of restlessness, what reference to harmonic factors provides is an explanation of the expressive character of the music which is complete in itself, one which involves no reference to contour at all. Kivy correctly points out that the feeling of restlessness conveyed by this musical line is due to the fact that it appears to be moving towards a point of rest, a G-major chord, but that at the point where we are led to expect this outcome what we in fact get is a diminished triad, a chord which is always `active' and which compels the musical line to continue. Hence the (slight) feeling of restlessness. Now all this seems to me exactly right. But what is clear is that this analysis of the expressive character of the melodic line makes no reference to any resemblance between musical line and expressive human gesture. It is an analysis purely in terms of the tonal and harmonic tensions that are operative in the musical sequence. The facts about the tonal and harmonic character of the Bach theme to which Kivy draws our attention are undeniable, but their implication is clear: if it is the case that the expressive power of Western music is, to a very large extent, a matter of tonal and

Contour and Convention

15

harmonic tensions and their resolution, then it cannot at the same time be a matter of resemblance between musical and human gesture. The tonal and harmonic character of the piece give it a certain restless quality, just as an individual's sitting down and immediately getting up may, in the right context, suggest restlessness. But it is wholly misguided to suppose that the music acquires

its

expressive

character

in

virtue

of

resembling

the

expressive behaviour of such an individual. The music's having a restless quality is in fact quite independent of its having a contour which resembles the behaviour of a restless individual. As it happens, this musical theme moves downwards and then upwards, a feature which Kivy sees as resembling the downward-and-upward movement of a restless person, sitting in a chair and immediately getting up. But it is surely obvious that a downward movement in a musical phrase cannot be taken to suggest a movement to a point of rest in itself, nor can an upward movement in itself suggest a movement away from a point of rest. The downward movement may be one

away

from a suggested resolu-

tion on the tonic, and an upward movement a clear passage towards such a resolution. Once again, it is only in the context of the harmonic and tonal character of the piece that the musical line can be construed in the way that Kivy indicates. That the melody has a contour which might be taken to suggest the movement of someone sitting down and then getting up again is quite incidental to its appearing to move to a point of rest and then being forced to go on. That a melody which has this expressive character also has this sort of contour is hardly more than a coincidence. I have not questioned the claim that the melodic line in the example above really does have the sort of contour which might be taken to resemble the behaviour of a restless person, sitting down and then getting up again. But in fact it is extraordinarily difficult to discern any such contour. The line rises and falls, with sudden leaps and dips. Nothing about it resembles the smooth movement of someone sitting down and then getting up again. We are again driven to say that the only resemblance between the musical line and the item of human behaviour specified is that both convey a sense of restlessness. That, of course, is far from sustaining the claim that the musical line conveys a sense of restlessness

in virtue

of

resembling

the

behaviour

human being. That thesis looks to be groundless.

of

a

restless

16

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

I now turn to Kivy's treatment of the parallel between facial gesture and expression in music. Kivy suggests that we read the emotion in a musical gesture just as we read the emotion in the mournful face of a St Bernard dog. But this suggestion only brings further troubles in its wake. Our seeing the dog's face as sad is part of our understanding of various facial expressions in human beings as indicative of various states of mind. Clearly, the sadness is not some extra objective property of the face. The truth is rather that we are programmed by evolution to see certain expressions as expressions of sadness or aggression, or whatever. Can the same be true of musical gestures? Could it be that we are programmed by evolution to see certain musical shapes as expressive of sadness or joy or rage, or whatever? I think this suggestion is pretty clearly untenable. There is a clear

evolutionary

advantage

in

our

being

able

to

read

the

intentions and states of mind of others in their facial expressions straight

off,

but

it

is

obvious

that

there

could

be

no

such

evolutionary point in being able to see particular musical phrases as expressive of particular emotions. In fact, Kivy's claim about the parallel between reading the emotion of a musical gesture and reading the emotion in the face of a St Bernard dog once again rests on the idea that there is a resemblance between the musical and the extra-musical item. A musical gesture expressive of sadness is seen as such because it resembles a sad facial expression, and we see the face of the St Bernard dog as sad because it resembles the sort of expression we know that we show ourselves when we are sad. The suggestion, then, is that the musical gesture is seen as sad because it resembles in this case not an item of expressive human behaviour, something taking place through time, but an expressive human feature, a facial expression, something evident in an instance of time, even though the musical gesture which resembles it takes place through time. But this suggestion is no more successful than other variants of the contour view. The supposed resemblance between musical and facial gesture simply does not exist; it no more exists than does the claimed resemblance between the quoted Bach theme and the movements of a restless person. Once again, any suggestion that the resemblance between the musical and human gesture lies in their both having drooping lines, or something of the sort, must be rejected. As with the restlessness of the example from Bach, the

Contour and Convention

17

expressive character of the musical gesture is to be explained by reference

to

the

properties

which

are

intrinsic

to

its

musical

nature, and that explanation is sufficient in itself. I think the attempt to explain the expressive power of music in terms of a resemblance between musical gestures and expressive human gestures must be rejected, for the reasons I have been discussing. However, I do not want to suggest that we can never talk meaningfully of such resemblances, or that they have nothing to do with the expressiveness of music. If the themes of Beethoven and Sibelius mentioned above were to go at a quick dancing pace, their expressive character would be quite changed. And if the Bach theme were to go much more quickly, its expressive

agitation,

character would be one of restlessness.

Nor

could

a

theme

rather than one of (slight)

expressive

of

joy

retain

its

expressive character if it were played at a funereal pace. But these

basic

similarities

between

music

and

expressive

human

behaviour impose only the broadest of constraints on the expressive character of music. In general, theories which attempt to find the secret of music's power to express emotion in such similarities are wholly misguided.

11

Convention As I suggested above, it is very difficult to understand what Kivy says about the relation between contour and convention, and in particular I have found it impossible to make sense of his claim that `all expressiveness by convention was originally expressiveness by contour, either as the thing itself, or as an ingredient'. is

one

thing

to

argue

that

harmonic

features,

in

12

It

themselves

intrinsically conventional, contribute to contour, but quite another to claim that they themselves were originally an aspect of contour, and it is this latter claim which I find incomprehensible. To refer again to the Bach theme, Kivy thinks that the fact that the

diminished

convention

triad

is

determines,

an but

`active'

chord

is

that

virtue

of

in

something this

the

that

chord

contributes to the contour of a theme, and thus gives it a certain expressive character. I have argued that the claim that music's expressiveness is a matter of its having a contour which resembles that of human expressive behaviour cannot be sustained. But that apart, Kivy's views on how the supposedly conventional features

18

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

of harmony make a contribution to the `contour' of the piece in which they occur, and thus come to have the expressive import that they have, are extraordinarily difficult to understand. As Kivy has noted, the repeat of the first phrase of the Ode to Joy theme in the

minor

key

immediately

after

its

statement

`changes the whole character from joy to sorrow'.

in

13

the

major

But it cannot

plausibly be held that it does this by altering the contour of the theme. I think we must abandon the attempt to make any more sense of the idea that the aspect of convention can be subsumed under the umbrella of contour. I turn instead to the notion of convention itself. I shall consider, first, what Kivy says about it, leaving aside the suggestion that convention may somehow be seen as an aspect of, or to contribute to, contour, two suggestions I have already dismissed. I shall then discuss the notion of convention in relation to music quite apart from Kivy's treatment of this issue, focusing on the specific question of how much of the expressive power of music can be attributed to convention. Kivy's central claim in relation to musical conventions is that they

acquire

their

expressive

character

by

`association'.

14

His

claim is that the major mode conveys happiness in the main, and the minor mode sorrow, in virtue of being `merely the customary accompaniments' of these emotions. He supports this notion of `convention by association' by offering the following examples of such association: the association between the sound of horns and hunting scenes, that between trumpets and military scenes,

that

between

the

sound

of

the

organ

and

religious

contexts, and the funereal quality of feeling conveyed by the measured beat of the kettle drum. The claim is that all musical conventions are of this sort. This claim is surely highly implausible. There is no problem in understanding the conventional link between the sound of the trumpet and martial scenes (though one must note that there are obviously factors which make the trumpet suitable for military contexts, factors which are not themselves matters of convention), or between the sound of the organ and religious sentiments, but the suggestion that the supposedly conventional expressive import of harmony can be explained in this way is an extraordinary one. There is, first of all, nothing to explain why these particular `conventions' have been adopted, nothing which parallels the sort

Contour and Convention

19

of explanation which makes clear why the trumpet is suitable for a military context, or the organ for religious ceremonies. These latter conventions rest on factors which are not mere conventions. The

so-called

`conventions'

which

link

particular

harmonic

progressions with particular passages of emotion have no such non-conventional support. We are led to suppose, then, that the link between the major mode and positive or affirmative emotion and that between the minor mode and sadness is to be explained as a sort of chance fall of the dice of convention, something which could equally have fallen quite differently. It is, on this supposition, no more than a matter of chance that our convention is that the passage from dissonance to consonance signifies the passage from tension to resolution or relaxation. There is a possible world which differs from the actual in only one respect: the passage from dissonance to consonance is regarded, not as the passage from tension to relaxation, but from relaxation to tension, whereas it is the passage from consonance to dissonance which conveys, purely by convention, the idea of a passage from emotional tension to relaxation. The combinations of sounds in harmony are intrinsically expressively inert, and their expressiveness is wholly a matter of the meaning and significance attributed to such combinations by convention. This full-blooded conventionalist thesis is extraordinary, and, I shall argue, wholly untenable. A consideration of the sorts of signs which do indeed acquire their meaning by convention should be enough to show that the expressive meaning attributed to musical gestures cannot possibly be a matter of pure convention. Take a few examples: traffic lights, and their sequence; the colour code for the wiring of electric plugs, the symbols which indicate that cycling is allowed, or not allowed. These things get their meaning purely through the decision of the appropriate authority. Other signs acquire their meaning through the development of custom: a gesture which in a particular culture is one of greeting, for example, or, indeed, most of the words in any natural language. I suggest that it is impossible to suppose that music has acquired its expressive significance by convention in anything like either of these two sorts of cases. Furthermore, these two cases exhaust the domain of convention. It is pretty obvious that music's expressive significance could not rest on a set of conventions established by decision or decree,

20

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

as the meaning of traffic signs is established. I do not deny that there is an imaginable world in which musical gestures get their meaning by executive decision. What is clear, however, is that that world is not ours. If it were, there would have to have been some sort of instruction manual which gives the meanings of all the conventional musical signs and symbols, a sort of musical highway code, perhaps. Even if that were possible, nothing about the construction of such a set of conventional symbols could explain why it is that these symbols evoke a response from the listener, an absolutely fundamental aspect which has no parallel in the case of the conventional symbols with which we are acquainted. No one who argues for the thesis that the expressive meaning of harmony is set by convention supposes that this conventional meaning is determined by decree. But in fact one sometimes hears the point made in defence of a conventionalist thesis that the expressive significance of the move from major to minor key (or vice versa) was something that appeared quite suddenly at a certain point in the classical period, and was almost unknown before then. I do not want to dispute this claim. What I do want to say is that to see this fact as supporting a conventionalist thesis would indeed imply that a central convention of musical expressiveness was established quite suddenly, almost by decree. It would be as if some early composers in the classical period decided

among

themselves

that

from

then

on

the

contrast

between major and minor key was to have a certain expressive meaning. This is, as I have argued, totally implausible. It would make the establishing of the meaning of this harmonic shift akin to setting the purely conventional meaning of a road traffic sign; and that would make it impossible understand how this harmonic transition could ever have been seen as something having not only a certain meaning but the power to affect and move the listener in a way which is often very central indeed. The truth is surely this. Given that the significance of the major/minor harmonic transition was recognised quite suddenly in musical history, we might explain this by positing, perhaps, a change in the Zeitgeist, and indeed of the relevant conventions in society. But that implies only that the choice of which of the expressive resources of music are to be used may be determined by the conventions of society, and we might consider the sudden

Contour and Convention

21

emergence of the major/minor contrast as something thus determined by convention. But that is not to say that that expressive resource has its expressive power as a matter of convention. Not only

is

this

latter

not

implied,

but

the

suggestion

that

this

expressive resource derives its power from a more or less sudden decision at the beginning of the classical period is, as I have said, wholly implausible. Almost always, the suggestion is that these conventions have arisen

gradually,

in

much

the

same

way

as

the

conventional

meanings of the words and expressions in a natural language. Stephen

Davies

claims

that

`we

get

our

knowledge

of

such

conventions, just as we absorb our working knowledge of our native tongues, along with our mothers' milk'.

15

But this suggestion is no more acceptable than the suggestion that the supposedly conventional meanings of musical terms are set by decree, and in fact is faced with the same objections as those that confronted that suggestion. Once again, if the meanings of musical terms are purely a matter of convention, then, just as with the words in our native tongue, their meanings would have to be taught

by ostension.

Talk of absorbing knowledge of our native

tongue along with our mothers' milk should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we do

not simply absorb our native language;

we are, however informally, taught it. We have to be taught the meaning, the referent, of every noun and every verb, and the basic grounding of this process must be teaching ostensively: showing

the

child

what

the

sounds

`ball',

`cat',

`tree',

`run',

`climb', and so on pick out. It is, of course, a purely arbitrary matter that just these sounds have the referents that they have. Now, if the suggested parallel between understanding music and understanding our native language is to go through, we shall have to suppose that (1) the expressive meaning of harmonic `gestures' is assigned purely arbitrarily, and (2) their meaning will have to be learned in much the same way as we learn the meanings of the terms in our language, basically by ostension. We could no more simply absorb musical `conventions' than,

pace

Davies, we simply

absorb our native tongue. I think it is fairly obvious that we do not learn the meaning of the expressive force of the harmonic and melodic elements of music through being shown what emotions they denote, and it is nigh impossible to imagine what such a process of teaching could

22

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

be like. Derek Cooke's The Language of Music contains an account of some basic melodic and harmonic elements of music, together with an

analysis of

their individual

emotional

and

expressive

character. It is what Cooke takes to be an account of the basic vocabulary of Western music, but Cooke never supposed that what he was doing supported the idea that the link between musical symbol and the emotion we take it to express was a purely conventional one. Indeed, it is absolutely clear that he would reject any such suggestion. He argues that the expressive power of music is grounded in certain features of the physical nature of sound, in particular the nature of the harmonic series. Understanding the meaning of a musical element is basically a matter of

perception, rather than one of being taught the conventional meaning of certain symbols.

16

A further pointer to the conclusion that coming to understand music cannot be anything like acquiring our native language has been touched on earlier when I considered the idea that the meaning of musical elements might imaginably be set by decree, but it is also relevant here. It is that even if it were the case that coming

to

understand

music

was,

in

large

part,

a

matter

of

learning the purely conventional meanings of musical elements, as we learn the meanings of words in our native tongue, that could not begin to explain why it is that musical elements have an

expressive force. Musical features provoke a certain response from the listener. This is a feature which is entirely lacking in relation to the conventional meanings of the terms in a language. These acquire an expressive force (as in poetry) only when they are juxtaposed in a telling way. I hope I am not anticipating the conclusion of my later discussion of the topic of emotivist theories of musical expression in saying this. However one construes it, it is surely the case that even as basic a harmonic progression as that from minor to major key, or from discord to concord, evokes a certain sort of response in the listener, and is not merely seen as something

having

a

purely

conventional

meaning.

The

basic

elements of musical vocabulary that Derek Cooke discusses are taken by him each to have a distinctive emotional impact on the listener, and are not seen merely to have a certain meaning. Furthermore, the conventionalist seems to imply that we could first learn the conventional meanings of musical terms, and then come to feel their expressive import. But in fact there cannot be

Contour and Convention

23

two different stages here; understanding a harmonic transition

is

to feel its expressive force. For

all

these

reasons

it

is,

I

think,

impossible

to

accept

a

conventionalist thesis which claims that music comprises sounds which in themselves are expressively inert, and to which a purely conventional meaning is ascribed. Indeed, such a full-blooded conventionalist thesis is surely totally incredible. The notion that our culture has arbitrarily selected certain combinations of sounds and ascribed to them a variety of meanings which are through and through a matter of convention, and that these essentially random selection of sounds are then seen not simply to denote certain emotional

states

impossible

to

meaning

but

but

see

to

why

express the

them,

business

expressive power

also

is of

quite

beyond

belief.

ascribing arbitrarily

It

is

not

simply

to

certain

combinations of notes should ever have started. If this is right, then we have to accept that there are properties in the nature of musical tones themselves which ground their expressive power.

17

Here are a number of features which might

be considered relevant. There is, first, the sort of feature which has been discussed by Robert Donington: the phenomenon of beat18

ing.

Those combinations of notes which appear consonant to us

(e.g., octave, major third and fifth) are almost entirely free of `beating'; but those combinations which appear dissonant beat against each other to a greater or lesser extent. It is this `beating', Donington suggests, that lies behind our response to discords as unpleasant, or tense or needing to be resolved, or at the least, sharp and astringent. A related point is the nature of the harmonic series, which Derek Cooke, among others, has focused on. A supporting point that has come to light is that an even pattern of brain-waves

is

elicited,

even

in

infants

and

the

developing

phoetus, by chords which are consonant, whereas the pattern elicited by discords is uneven. Taken together, these points seem to me to rule out the suggestion that the expressive import of the harmonic

aspects

of

music

is

acquired

through

the

arbitrary

development of convention. In short, there must be musical properties, properties of the physical nature of combinations of sounds, which confer on music its power to affect the listener. To recognise that the expressiveness of music is grounded in elements,

such

as

that

of

the

degree

of

beating

between

the

individual notes of a chord, and the phenomenon of the harmonic

24

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

series, rules out the suggestion that such expressiveness is a matter of `arbitrary conventions'.

19

Of course it is true, as Davies points out, that `a person familiar with music in which the most tense interval is a major third is bound to be utterly distracted by the music of Stravinsky'. But points of that sort do not support the claim that music's expressiveness is in part a matter of the adoption of arbitrary conventions. What it shows is that if, for whatever reason, an individual's experience of the range of music's expressive possibilities is very limited, it will take some time for them to find their bearings in music which uses a much greater range of these potentialities. Moreover,

in

coming

eventually

to

understand

Stravinsky's

music, there is surely no question that the individual in question will have come to see how Stravinky's music relates to, and develops out of, a more traditional tonality; it is simply false that such an understanding requires the grasp of a set of entirely new

conventions. It may be (though I doubt even this) that we can construe the fact that an individual or a society has the sort of limited view of the expressive possibilities of music as is suggested in Davies' example as a matter of the adoption by that culture of an

arbitrary

convention,

but

that

music

has

those

expressive

powers is not a matter of arbitrary convention, not even in part. When we confront the great variety of musical forms of expression which exist across human societies, it may seem that this variety dictates the view that what combinations and sequences of sounds are seen to be expressive is a matter wholly determined by the conventions of each society. I suggest that a better way of looking at the matter is what I have just hinted at above. There is a huge

range

selection

of

from

expressive

possibilities

offered

by

this

which

culture

makes

range

any

music.

The

may

be

determined by a number of factors. Sometimes it may reflect a failure to discover more of the expressive potentialities of music; and sometimes, perhaps, the selection is determined by no more than `arbitrary convention'. But a wholly conventionalist view of music can make no sense. Music cannot be composed of an arbitrary selection of sounds to which are ascribed wholly conventional meanings like most of the words in our language. Still less could such an arbitrary selection of sounds be given not only meaning but expressive force. I do not want to give the impression that one can read off the

Contour and Convention

25

expressive power of music simply from the physical nature of sound. There is no simple, accoustical theory of music's expressive power. Nevertheless, it is wrong to claim that triadic tonality is

an

arbitrary

convention.

The

development

of

tonality

has

proceeded through intelligible and well-motivated stages, none of which is at all arbitrary. The adoption of equal temperament, for example, was hardly an arbitrary choice, any more than was the device of

musica ficta in medieval music. And the emergence of

the triad as fundamental again was not an arbitrary matter, but an implication of the introduction of polyphony. None of this can be represented as a matter of our ascribing to particular combinations of sounds a quite arbitrary significance.

20

Of course, there are

systems of music very remote from that of Western tonality, but it remains the case, as Roger Scruton says, that `the triad owes its authority to its place in a system, the details of which were not so much made as discovered, through experiments in polyphony'.

21

Do We `Animate' Musical Gestures? There is one final aspect of Kivy's position which needs discussing, especially in relation to the notion of convention, one which connects with the point just made. Kivy makes much of the claim that `it is a hard psychological fact that we tend to ``animate'' what we perceive'; for example, we see the twisted stick as a snake, the handle of a wooden spoon covered with a cloth as a human figure, and so on. But it is pretty clear that such animation can take place only where there is an obvious resemblance between the object we see and the object we imagine it to be (a snake, a human figure). It is therefore difficult to see how animation could have a role

where

supposedly

the

significance

determined

by

of

what

we

convention.

No

hear

is

something

`animation'

of

the

passage from major to minor key, or from a dominant seventh to a tonic resolution seems to be conceivable. It may be some such thought which is behind Kivy's attempt to show that the aspect of convention can be subsumed under that of contour, and thus contribute to something which, in virtue of its resemblance to human behaviour, can be `animated'. But, as I have pointed out, it is impossible to see even such a basic harmonic transition as that from major to minor mode (as in the example from Beethoven's Ninth) as something that contributes to contour in any way.

26

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

If that is the case then the problem is this: there is, on the view in question, an aspect of music which resembles human expressive behaviour and which, because of this resemblance, we `animate' when we hear it. But the more substantial contribution to the expressiveness of music is made by factors whose significance is purely a matter of convention. If these are purely conventional factors, the notion that we `animate' them becomes extremely mysterious. If it had been possible to accept Kivy's suggestion that purely conventional elements contribute to the contour of a musical phrase, then it would also have been possible to see an answer to the question: how can features which have a purely conventional meaning affect us as they do, and evoke an affective response, rather than being seen, quite coolly, merely as symbols having a conventional meaning? For, in contributing to something (contour) which we `animate', they contribute to something which provokes an affective response. But in fact no such thought is possible. It is not possible, because the crucial claim that purely conventional elements contribute to the contour of the musical phrase is one which, so I have claimed, is not acceptable or even intelligible. However, the more fundamental objection to the claim that we animate musical gestures in virtue of a perceived resemblance between such gestures and expressive behavioural gestures is that there is no such resemblance. I have argued in this chapter that the widely held belief that there are such resemblances cannot be sustained. Of course, if music is to mean anything at all to us, we must hear it as more than a mere sequence or combination of sounds; it must, in some sense, `live' for us. But it is quite wrong to

suppose

that

the

music

becomes

alive

for

us

because

we

`animate' it. Animation, on Kivy's view, depends on the perception of a resemblance between the perceived object and another; and in the case of music, there is no such resemblance. I have been examining the view that the expressive power of music is grounded in two factors: first, resemblance between the musical

gesture

and

human

gestures

expressive

of

emotion;

second, a substantial element of convention. I think it is impossible to get a coherent conception of the expressiveness of music on this basis, whether these aspects are treated as factors which

independently

whether,

as

in

Kivy's

contribute position,

to the

such aspect

expressiveness, of

convention

or is

Contour and Convention

27

supposed somehow to be subsumable under that of `contour'. I have suggested, along with others, that the basis of music's power to express feeling must lie in certain objective properties of sound. If this is the case, what is indicated is a conception of the nature of music's power to express emotion, which is very different from the approach we have been examining up to now.

Notes 1.

In fact neither Descartes nor Hume held that emotions had no cognitive or evaluative content, and I agree with Michael Stocker that `no leading philosopher from Socrates to James' has held this view; but that is another story.

2.

E.

Hanslick,

The Beautiful in Music

(Indianapolis:

The

Bobs-Merril

Company, 1957), pp. 20±4. 3.

M. Budd,

Music and the Emotions

(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,

1985), p. 21. 4.

5.

R. Scruton, `Analytic Philosophy and the Meaning of Music',

Aesthetics and Art Criticism

, 46, 1987, p. 172.

P. Kivy, `What was Hanslick Denying?', in his

Journal of

The Fine Art of Repetition

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 276±95. 6.

P Kivy,

Sound Sentiment

(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989),

chs 1±8. 7.

R. Scruton, `Understanding Music', in his

The Aesthetic Understanding

(London: Methuen, 1983), p. 99. Although this expresses the sort of view for which Kivy argues, Scruton's own position could not be characterised as a straightforward `resemblance' view. 8.

R. Scruton,

The Aesthetics of Music

(Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 167.

Again, this strongly suggests the sort of view that Kivy argues for. It also suggests the

view

that

our

response

to

music

is

akin

to

this

sort

of

sympathetic response to a person, which is a position clearly compatible with a basic `contour' view. I shall argue that neither the contour view nor the view that similarity between musical and human expressive gesture induces a sympathetic response in the listener can be upheld. 9.

Some may be tempted to argue that the example is inappropriate, since the custom now is to perform the Beethoven much more briskly than used to be

the

fashion,

so

the

claimed

`behavioural

similarity'

between

the

Beethoven and Sibelius does not exist. Anyone concerned about this should remind themselves of how the Beethoven

used

to be performed: at

least as slowly as the Sibelius. My point is that behavioural similarity goes hand in hand with a profound expressive difference.

Sound Sentiment

10.

Kivy,

11.

R. A. Sharpe's book Press,

2000),

, p. 81.

Music and Humanism

contains

the

most

recent

(Oxford: Oxford University

example

I

have

met

of

the

28

Philosophy, Music and Emotion endorsement of Hanslick's claim that, as Sharpe puts it, `music does not articulate thoughts, therefore music can neither express nor represent the emotions proper' (p. 54), and that consequently `it is the music itself which is sad or gay, calm or tempestuous, ferocious or exuberant, and . . . these are words which in non-musical contexts more typically ascribe moods, not emotions' (p. 62). Sharpe's own position looks to be a variant of the sort of position developed by Kivy, but he argues also for a close parallel between the expressive features of music and the patterns of devices of rhetoric as these are employed to shape and colour oratory: the expressiveness of a single vocal phrase, for example, `is expressive precisely because it mimics the shape and movement of the rhetorical gesture' (p. 75). I do not think this position manages to escape the criticisms I have brought against the sort of position Kivy represents, and, as I argue in Chapter 3, the endorsement of Hanslick by so many writers in this area is a fundamental mistake.

12.

Kivy, Sound Sentiment, p. 83.

13.

Kivy, Sound Sentiment, p. 70.

14.

Kivy, Sound Sentiment, pp. 132±35.

15.

S. Davies, Musical Meaning and Expression (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,

16.

This point is made by Roger Scruton in his The Aesthetics of Music, p. 206.

17.

In fact even those who argue for the place of convention in music's

1994), p. 245.

expressiveness tend to accept that that expressiveness cannot be solely based on convention. See note 19, below. 18.

R. Donington, Music and its Instruments (London: Methuen, 1982), ch. 4.

19.

Stephen Davies claims that music's expressiveness is grounded both in such

extra-cultural

facts

as

I

have

mentioned

and

also

in

arbitrary

conventions (p. 245). For the reasons I have indicated in the text, I think it quite wrong to talk of `arbitrary conventions'. 20.

Roger Scruton's discussion of this issue in his chapter on `Tonality' in The

21.

Scruton, The Aesthetics of Music, p. 247.

Aesthetics of Music strikes me as excellent.

Chapter Two

Emotivism

Kivy has repeatedly claimed that music cannot evoke `gardenvariety' emotion, though we respond to music that moves us with delight, wonder, admiration, and so on. Others have claimed that music does indeed often evoke or arouse in the listener the emotion we take it to express. To take the stock example, sad music often arouses a feeling of sadness in the listener. Some have argued that music's expressiveness is essentially a matter of its ability to arouse the emotion it expresses; others, such as Levinson, have claimed that music that expresses painful and negative emotion can often arouse such emotion in the listener, and that there is clear value in its being able to do this, but they have denied that to say that music is expressive of emotion simply is to say that music arouses that emotion. Although Kivy has argued in print against emotivists, there is nevertheless a strong similarity between Kivy's position and that of those who claim that music can indeed arouse the emotions it is deemed

to

express.

For

the

answer

which

is

given

by

most

emotivists to the question, how is music able to arouse `gardenvariety' emotions, is that this power rests in the listener's perception of a similarity between the musical gesture and human expressive gesture. I have, of course, already rejected that suggestion. The issue I want to examine now is the way in which the emotivist's conception of the feelings and emotions which music is deemed to arouse is constrained by their acceptance of Hanslick's argument and of the contemporary judgementalist or `cognitivist' view of emotion. If one accepts that emotions are standardly directed to an object, and that the core of any emotion is some sort of judgement or evaluation directed to such an object, then the question of what it could mean to say that music can arouse emotion becomes a

29

30

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

pressing one, given the fairly obvious truth that music cannot represent or express any judgement, nor, standardly, represent the object of any emotion. Before starting on this examination, I want to say something about what seems to me to be the very surprising claim made by some

philosophers

that

the

evocation

or

arousal

theory

is

an

elementary mistake, resting on a pretty obvious confusion. I say this is a surprising claim, since I think most people would say that the power of music to evoke feeling is such an obvious fact of our musical experience, that to reject the idea that music arouses the emotions it is said to express altogether would seem to run clean counter to our experience. There must therefore be some sense we can

give

to

the

notwithstanding.

claim

that

Martial

music

music

arouses

arouses

emotion,

martial

Hanslick

feelings,

high-

spirited dance music arouses high spirits; how could this be denied? Not

the

least

mistake

in

Kivy's

account

of

the

matter

is

his

apparent rejection of the idea that music can ever arouse ordinary emotion (though this position seems to have undergone a certain modification).

1

Roger Scruton claims that the evocation theory is an `elementary error'. As we shall see, the error Scruton claims to discern is indeed one of which some arousalists have been guilty. It is, however, not one of which the arousal theory need be guilty. Scruton

says

that

it

seems

obvious

that

the

`recognition

of

expression' in art is not the dispassionate diagnosis of another person's feelings, `but involves a sympathetic response to it'. `But', he says, `that shows precisely what is wrong with the evocation theory. To respond sympathetically to grief is not to feel

grief.

Sympathy has a logic of its own and does not imitate its object. Moreover, how can I respond sympathetically to the grief in the

Masonic Funeral Music [of Mozart] if I do not attribute grief to the music? That question shows the evocation theory to be incoherent.'

2

The evocation theory cannot be dismissed like this. What has gone wrong here is that Scruton has interpreted the evocation theory to be claiming not simply that music evokes or arouses in the listener the emotion which the music expresses, but that it evokes a

sympathetic response to that emotion in the music. And it

is this addition to the theory which is the target of Scruton's attack. He correctly points out that to respond sympathetically to

Emotivism

31

grief is not to feel grief. Indeed it is not, but to say that music expresses martial or joyful emotions in so far as it arouses such emotions in the listener is not at all to imply that what is aroused is a sympathetic response as to another person. And, similarly, to say that what it is for music to express emotion is for that emotion to be evoked in the listener is not at all to imply that the emotion has somehow to be seen as there in the music prior to or independently of the listener's response. I doubt whether this latter claim is as straightforwardly incoherent as Scruton claims, but, be that as it may, Scruton's remarks miss the power of the evocation or arousal theory altogether. Of course, it is true that to respond sympathetically to grief presupposes the existence of grief in the object of our attention independently of our response to it; it therefore follows that to suppose that our response to music is a sort of sympathetic response to an emotion in the music undermines completely the idea that for music to express an emotion simply consists in its being able to evoke that emotion in a sensitive listener. But that shows only that it is the claim about the supposedly sympathetic nature of our response which does the damage, and that claim, I have argued, is not part of the evocation theory, and does not even form part of Scruton's own initial statement

of

the

theory.

Nevertheless,

it

is

true

that

some

supporters of the evocation theory have construed our response to music to be akin to an empathetic or sympathetic response to a person. We shall comment on this strand in some versions of the evocation theory later, and try to come to some understanding of what has led some theorists to espouse it.

Objectless Feelings One view which has found acceptance is that music arouses something akin to moods, in that the feelings aroused are without an object. The sadness which music evokes is about `everything' and `nothing'.

3

Since these feelings do not involve any belief or

evaluative judgement about an object, the sting of Hanslick's objection to the claim that music can represent or arouse an object is removed. There seem to be two immediate objections to this sort of view, both of which are pretty fundamental, in my view. The first objection is that it is difficult to see why the objectless feelings

32

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

which are claimed to be aroused by music should not themselves become the object of our attention. Indeed, since on the view in question it is clearly an essential part of the value of music that it arouses these objectless feelings, it would seem obvious that one must and ought to be aware of them. It would not make much sense to insist that what gives music its value to a large extent is an aspect of which one ought as far as possible to be unaware. But if the feelings aroused by music are necessarily an object of attention, then they can only distract our attention from the music itself. And that is surely not an acceptable view. Music, it goes without saying, demands our undivided attention. The other objection is at least as serious. It is that there appears on this sort of view to be no

essential

connection between the

music and the feelings which are aroused by it. Music arouses certain feelings, but it appears as no more than contingently the case that these objectless feelings are aroused by listening to music. Exactly the same feelings could have been aroused by something else, and the music is thus theoretically dispensable. This problem, which Malcolm Budd has called `the heresy of the

separable

experience',

4

seems

to

me

one

of

fundamental

importance and also one to which the position under consideration cannot provide an answer. It cannot be enough to respond, as Levinson does, by pointing out that our interest in these nonintentional

feelings

may

well

be

directed

communicated by a particular structure.

5

to

such

feelings

as

Levinson goes on to

say that `[i]n the aesthetic mode we properly value the specific . . . shade of feeling a passage provokes through apprehension of its wholly individual note-for-note form, and not just that shade of feeling the

tout court, however produced'. This, however, fails to meet

problem.

It

fails

to

show

why

such

an

interest

in

the

`individual note-for-note form' of the passage which produces the feeling should be an essential aspect of the aesthetic experience. Levinson appears to claim that only if our interest is of this sort can it be deemed properly aesthetic, but it remains quite unclear why this should be so. We may indeed have this extra interest, but the point remains undeniable that, if the value of music is to some substantial degree a matter of the feelings which are aroused by it, then those very same valuable experiences could be had independently of the music which, contingently, causes them. I agree with Budd that this is not an acceptable position.

33

Emotivism

An `arousal' theorist who has tried to meet the problem is Derek Matravers.

6

He recognises that one way of meeting the

problem would be to claim that the feelings aroused by music are themselves

`object-directed',

and

that

the

difference

between

feelings which are aroused by music and feelings aroused by a drug is that `in the former case the feelings aroused are directed to their cause, while in the latter case they are not'.

7

The feelings

aroused by music, that is, are directed at the music. However, Matravers is unable to accept this solution, since he sees no justification for accepting `the intentionality of purely affective states'.

I

shall

later

claim

that

the

rejection

of

the

idea

of

intentional feelings is a fundamental misconception, one which is central to both Hanslick's position and to that of contemporary cognitivist accounts of emotion. However, having rejected the idea of intentional feelings, Matravers now takes his cue from a suggestion

by

Levinson

that

`a

musical

passage

expresses

an

emotion whose structure . . . closely mirrors or resembles the structure of the passage'.

8

The problem, as Matravers sees, lies in

showing how music can mirror or resemble the emotions. His claim is that the arousal theory provides an answer in that if we listen to a piece of music which is characterised in terms of tension, relaxation, conflict and resolution, our experience is that `as the music moves from dissonance to resolution, so the feelings [aroused] move from doubt to satisfaction'. And, later, `as the music resolves itself, so does the feeling it expresses. Hence the structure of the music is mirrored in the structure of the feelings it arouses'. One's first reaction to this suggestion is that this can hardly provide a solution to the `separable experience' problem, since the notion that there are such non-intentional states of feeling as those of doubt, satisfaction, wistfulness, total completion and so on is surely an incoherent one. Whatever a feeling of doubt is, it is certainly an intentional state. To describe certain

non-intentional

states of consciousness as feelings of doubt, emotional satisfaction, and so on can only make sense if these terms are taken to refer to the feelings

caused by

being in a state of doubt, or being satisfied

that something has been achieved. But if there are any such nonintentional states of feeling, they are states which are merely contingently linked to entertaining doubts, or judging that one has achieved what one wanted, or something of this sort. They

34

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

may also be caused by the perception of tension and relaxation in the

music.

But

the

connection

between

the

non-intentional

feelings aroused and the act of listening to music remains a purely contingent one. The notion that the non-intentional feelings which are aroused mirror the structure of the music is, one might argue, as unintelligible as the notion that the feelings caused by taking a drug mirror the structure of the drug. If the music arouses non-intentional states of feeling, it is contingently the case that certain feelings are aroused by certain musical progressions, and there is a possible world in which just these feeling are entirely detached from the music. The claim that there are non-intentional but `mirroring' feelings is an incoherent one. This initial reaction, however, does not do justice to Matravers' position. His talk of `feelings of doubt and satisfaction' in fact does not imply that such feelings are intentional. His claim is that each of the (rather limited) range of emotions which music is able to express has a distinctive phenomenological or physiological aspect which is separable from the cognitive aspect of the emotion. The perception of the varieties of tension and resolution produces a sequence of (non-intentional) feelings ± `feelings of doubt and satisfaction', for example. The feelings are so described in virtue of the fact that they are the phenomenological aspect of the cognition of, in the relevant case, the stresses and resolutions in the music. The sequence of feelings will therefore mirror the sequence of musical events just in virtue of the fact that they are the feelings which are caused by the sequence of perceptions of the musical events. That is why it is right to say that such feelings mirror the course of the music, whereas it would be nonsensical to say that the feelings caused by a drug mirror the drug. The striking feature of this position is that it is openly admitted that the relation between the cognitive aspect of any emotion and the attendant feeling is a contingent one, and that it is therefore the case that the relation between the cognition of a series of musical events and the resultant non-intentional feelings is contingent. It follows that `as music and the feelings aroused are distinct, the latter could be caused by some means other than the former'.

9

It is therefore possible, Matravers admits, that there is a

`Beethoven's Fifth drug', which could provide one with all the feelings one would get on listening attentively to that symphony. In fact, there are two layers of contingency here. First, as we have

35

Emotivism

just noted, the feelings caused by perceiving the tensions and resolutions in a passage of music could be brought about by some other cause. Second, the relation between the cognitive aspect of any emotion and its phenomenological aspect is also contingent; there is a possible world in which judgements about the presence or absence of tension or conflict are linked to feelings which in the

actual

world

are

linked

to

judgements

about

peace

and

serenity. One has to ask how, given this contingency, it can be claimed that the `separable experience' problem has been met. The experiences aroused by music look to be as `separable' from the music as it is possible to be. I think Matravers' underlying thought is that, given that the feelings aroused by music mirror the course of the music in the way that he suggests, it doesn't matter if the relation between hearing music and the resultant feelings is contingent; the feelings mirror the music nonetheless. The `separable experience' problem, therefore, is not so much answered as shown to be not important ± or so it is hoped. In fact it is crucial, as the next and final stage of Matravers' argument shows. He argues that, although the `Beethoven's Fifth drug' would produce exactly the feelings that listening to that symphony would produce, it is only if one believes that the feelings alone are what is valuable about music that one might be tempted to think that the drug-taker's experience is as valuable as that of the music lover's. The listener, unlike the drug-user, is aware of the simultaneous presence in consciousness of

two

things

in intimate causal connection: the feelings and also the sounds to which the feelings are intimately tied. This difference is sufficient to explain why we take the latter experience to be a matter of expression, but not that of the drug-user's. But the suggestion that the listener's attention is directed to two different things, (1) the music, and (2) a range of feelings, is hugely counter-intuitive. It seems to me a fundamental and basic truth that the listener's attention is directed

solely

to the music, and that

the listener's attention is undivided. If there is an additional object of attention other than the music, that, as I argued earlier, can only serve to distract the listener's attention from the music. I argued above that the notion that music arouses objectless, nonintentional states of feeling is open to two major objections: first, such

non-intentional

feelings

can

only

serve

to

distract

the

36

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

listener's attention from the music; second, such feelings have no essential connection with the music. What reflection on Matravers' discussion has shown is that it is not possible to accept that the relation between music and the feelings which music arouses is a contingent one, given only that the sequence of such feelings `mirrors' the course of the music. The posited feelings remain separable from the music, and thus remain as competitors for the listener's attention, inevitably distracting the listener's attention from the music. One also has to question the suggestion, central to Matravers' position, that there is a distinct phenomenological or physiological aspect to each emotion, something that can be detached from the emotion's intentional or `cognitive' aspect. Even if, as Matravers suggests, the range of emotions that music is capable of expressing is limited and `rough-grained', it is implausible to suggest that there is a distinct felt physiological aspect to such contrasting feelings as those of doubt, satisfaction, love, joy and so on. It is, on the contrary, highly plausible to claim that there is no clear

felt

physiological

difference

between,

say,

one

violent

emotion and another ± between sudden fear and suddenly falling in love, for example, or between two contrasting emotions of a more gentle variety, such as a feeling satisfaction on the one hand and one of resignation on the other. Indeed, it is worth pointing out that some leading proponents of the `judgementalist' analysis of emotion see a major advantage of the position to lie precisely in the fact that, unlike the so-called `feeling' account of emotion, there is no commitment to posit a distinct quality of feeling for each emotion. The feelings can be accepted to be much more rough-grained

than

that.

So

far

as

any

evident

physiological

disturbances are concerned, that seems to me to be right, and Matravers' suggestion runs counter to this. In fact, as I shall argue in Chapter 7, the feelings which music can

arouse

are

far

more

precise

and

distinctive

than

can

be

accounted for by any theory which identifies feeling with some sort of felt physiological component. Mendelssohn, contrary to what Kivy and others claim, was right that music can express emotion

too

`definite'

for

words

to

capture.

This

fact

alone

demands a conception of emotion, and of what it is for music to express emotion, very different from the sort of emotivist position

I

have

considered

so

far

in

this

chapter.

A

proper

Emotivism

37

understanding of the feeling-component in emotion must lead to a rejection of the cognitivist or judgementalist view of emotion. A

rather

different

approach

to

the

`separable

experience'

problem is developed by Aaron Ridley, who suggests that the answer to it lies in the fact that our response to the contour of music (which he calls the `melismatic' gesture) is a

sympathetic

response, akin to the response elicited from us by the expressive gesture of another person. If this is so, then there is no question of the response becoming detached from the gesture which prompts it, any more than our sympathetic response to a person could be detached from our perception of that person.

10

One difficulty with this suggestion is that Ridley hopes to combine the claim that our response is a sympathetic one with the claim that the feelings which are evoked are non-intentional. Such feelings are, he says `episodes of passion'. `They are not emotions', he says, `since we do not feel what we feel about anything'.

11

The trouble with this suggestion is that it seems

difficult to reconcile with the idea that our response to music is akin

to

a

sympathetic

response is one

directed to

response

to

a

person.

A

sympathetic

the person with whom one sympathises.

If `episodes of passion' are states of feeling which are not about anything, then they cannot be sympathetic responses. If they are non-intentional states of feeling, then the `separable experience' objection retains its full force. These states of feeling are merely contingently connected to what brings them about, and could theoretically be experienced detached from any musical context. If one abandons the claim that the feelings aroused by music are non-intentional,

and

are

akin

to

sympathetic

responses

to

a

person, we have a quite different position, which I intend to consider very shortly. It is, however, impossible to hold both that the feelings aroused by music are non-intentional `episodes of passion' and that they are akin to sympathetic responses to a person.

12

Levinson's position again involves a degree of departure from the pure doctrine that the feelings aroused by music are nonintentional, but he stops short of claiming that these feelings are emotions with a precise object; indeed, his explicit acceptance of Hanslick's view that, as Levinson puts it, `music is clearly incapable, without special assistance, of identifying for the listener a special

object

of an emotion'

13

clearly commits him to the view

38

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

that the feelings aroused by music have no specific object. His view

is

that

the

listener

is

standardly

made

to

feel

sad

by

apprehending and then identifying with the sadness in the music. This apprehension is, once again, grounded in one's awareness of some crucial resemblance between the music and human behaviour expressive of sadness. Identifying with the music involves initially imagining that the music is either itself a sad individual or else the audible expression of somebody's sadness. This results in an act of imagining that one is sad oneself ± that it is one's own sadness that the music expresses ± and thus, however amorphously, that one has something to be sad about. Levinson is careful to point out that in imagining that one is actually sad, one must imagine that there is an object for one's sadness and that one has a certain sort of attitude towards it. But the point is that this latter imagining generally remains

nate.

One does not imagine a

particular

One allows that one's feeling has

some

indetermi-

object for one's sadness.

focus, but without going on

to specify this any further. The sadness prompted by the third movement of Brahms' Third Symphony is not directed on the music, or on any real-life situation, but instead on some featureless object posited vaguely by one's imagination.

14

This position seems to offer no way of avoiding the problems in the `objectless feeling' view that we have already met. If what music evokes are objectless feelings, albeit ones which lead us to imagine that there is some sort of object for one's sadness, it is difficult to see how these feelings, whether thought of as quite objectless or as directed to some amorphous and indeterminate object, could fail to distract us from the music. Furthermore, the crucial `separable experience' objection retains its full force. The value we derive from music lies in great part in the feelings which it evokes, but these feelings seem to have no essential connection with the music. As I noted above, Levinson

claims that the

apparent `extrinsicality' of the feelings (their theoretical separability from the music) `is modified if our concern is specifically with those feelings

as communicated by a particular musical structure '.

15

This suggestion appears to be different from the claim that such feeling

mirror

the course of the music, but it is no more successful

in meeting the `separable experience' objection. We may indeed have this extra interest in the way feelings are aroused by a particular

musical

structure,

but

it

remains

the

case

that

on

Emotivism

39

Levinson's view the value of music is in substantial part due to feelings evoked in us which could theoretically be evoked by something else.

Sympathy, Empathy, or Identification? In

the

positions

of

both

Ridley

and

Levinson

there

is

the

suggestion that our response to music is akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response to a person. For Levinson, this appears to be just a step on the way towards imagining that the person who is sad is oneself. Ridley does not take this step, but, as we have seen, appears to think that the claim that our response to music is a sympathetic one ties it necessarily to the object of one's attention: the music. I have argued that this position cannot be reconciled with the claim that the feelings we experience are `not about anything'

or

are

`episodes

of

passion'.

However,

it

is

worth

considering a little further the suggestion that the feelings aroused by

music

are

sympathetic

or

empathetic

feelings,

directed

as

though to a person. It is certainly true that, if this claim could be sustained, the `separable experience' objection would be met. The feelings we have towards a person are necessarily directed to that person; they are not objectless feelings about `everything' or `nothing'. Nevertheless, the suggestion that the feelings aroused by music are akin to sympathetic or empathetic responses to a person seriously misrepresents our experience of music. Firstly, it is by no means standardly the case that witnessing an expressive gesture of another person will lead us, if we respond affectively at all, to feel what we take that person to feel. Seeing that a friend is angry about something, we may feel distressed, but not angry ourselves.

16

One

the

other

hand,

it

is

perfectly

possible

to

sympathise with someone in a way which involves feeling what we take the person with whom we sympathise to feel. Thus the sight of a friend in distress may cause us to feel distressed. This emotion will, of course, have an object, the fact that one's friend is in distress. But it is impossible to maintain the thesis that our experience of music is akin to this. The suggestion that we treat music as a sort of person which might be the object of our sadness or distress seems to me self-evidently absurd. Perhaps it was for this reason that Levinson claimed that the impression, evoked by music, that the music is itself a sad person is seen as merely a stage

40

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

on the way towards imagining that it is the listener who is sad and who has something to be sad about. One

might

also

add

that

the

suggestion

that

the

music

is

regarded as a sort of person, or that our emotional response to music is akin to our sympathetic or empathetic response to a person,

in

any

case

misrepresents

the

nature

of

our

musical

experience. Some thinkers have claimed that a crucial aspect of our musical experience is that of

identifying

with the music, or,

as it is sometimes expressed, listening to the music `from the inside'. T. S. Eliot memorably expressed this experience in talking of

Music heard so deeply it is not heard at all But you are the music while the music lasts.

17

I think, for reasons I shall try to make clear later, that talk of identifying

with

the

music

will

have

to

be

qualified

in

one

important respect. Nevertheless, it is surely the case that our experience of music is much closer to that of identification than to that of a sympathetic response, as if to another person. It seems to me clear that what music evokes is not a sympathetic response as to another person, if only because, as I have claimed, to think of the music as another person is absurd. But I want to bring out a crucial respect in which our experience of music differs from a sympathetic or empathetic response to a person. In empathising or sympathising with another person, the sense of that other person is especially sharp.

18

Those who talk of identifying with the music

are surely right in this respect: in our experience of music what is evoked or aroused is an emotional journey of one's own rather than an empathetic response to someone else's emotional vicissitudes. The sense of another person has no place here. It is an important truth that the emotional vicissitudes of the music are not experienced as those of another person, but

your own.

It is worth noting that the `contour' theory does not confront the `separable experience' problem, at least in Kivy's version. Since in Kivy's view music's power to express emotion is not to be

explained

in

terms

of

its

ability

to

evoke

emotions,

the

question of whether such emotions or feelings are in principle detachable from the music cannot arise. Kivy, however, emphasises that we are indeed moved by the music ± we admire it,

41

Emotivism wonder at it and so on. But these feelings one

admires

is

the

music,

and

there

do have an object: what

is

no

possibility

of

this

response becoming detached from its object. But, for the sorts of reasons I outlined earlier, the `contour' view is unacceptable. Those versions of the `arousal' theory which try to explain the fact that music arouses feelings such as sadness, joy and so on by pointing to similarities between music and human expressive gesture simply add another major problem to the ones which already confront the contour view.

Conclusion We have seen that the current versions of the `arousal' or `emotivist' position face a variety of problems. Almost all versions claim that music's ability to arouse feeling is grounded in similarities between music and human expressive gesture, and thus confront all the problems of the `contour' view. These problems, let us remind ourselves, stem from the attempt to find some way of construing the expressiveness of music which does not fall foul of Hanslick's argument. The arousal theory then confronts a further batch of difficulties in the attempt to sustain the claim that music arouses feelings which have no specific object. The `separable experience' problem looms and the various attempts to meet it are evidently quite unsuccessful. The suggestion that our interest is directed to feelings as aroused by the musical structure, or that our feelings `mirror' the course of the music, or that our feeling is directed to some indeterminate object of emotion, all fail to meet the problem. The suggestion that our experience of music is akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response to a person would certainly meet the difficulty, but it quite implausible, and in any case it can make no sense of what it is to identify with the music. There is a final problem with the standard forms of the arousal theory which is worth mentioning. I said above that almost all forms of this theory see music's ability to arouse feelings to be grounded in similarities between music and human expressive gesture. Now if that is the case, then it might seem that the point that Scruton made against this theory is cogent. His claim, to remind ourselves, was that to posit a sympathetic response to, say, the

grief

in

Mozart's

Masonic Funeral Music

presupposes

the

independent existence of grief in the music; we cannot therefore

42

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

claim that for that music to express grief simply consists in its power to arouse sympathetic feelings in the listener. But even if we dismiss the `sympathetic response' approach, Scruton's point does seem to expose a problem for the evocation theory. For if we allow

the

suggestion

that

music's

power

to

arouse

emotion,

whether these emotions be varieties of sympathetic response or not,

lies

in

the

perceived

resemblance

between

musical

and

human expressive gestures, we do seem to have accepted that what it is for music to express emotion lies basically in such similarities, and the arousal of emotion which is the effect of our perception of these similarities is a response to what we thus perceive music to express. If that is the case, then it cannot be right to claim that music's power to express emotion simply consists in its power to arouse the appropriate emotion in the listener. A `strong' arousalist position, then, must offer an account of what it is for music to arouse emotion which does not rest on the perception of behavioural similarities

between music and

human

evocation

beings.

If

it

fails

to

do

this,

the

theory

is

essentially the `contour' theory with the added point that perception of the relevant contours tends to arouse equivalent feelings. The question therefore arises, what sort of account of music's expressive power can the evocation theory offer which does not render that theory merely a refinement of the `contour'-type theory? Well, we have looked at the suggestion that the course of a piece of music can somehow mirror human emotions, and it looks as if this claim makes no reference to similarities between musical and human expressive gestures as such. But I saw no way of making sense of the posited `mirroring' relation. It is clearly incumbent on the evocation theorist to explain

how

music arouses

emotion. The versions of the evocation theory presently available are either quite unsuccessful in this, or reduce the theory to a version of the behavioural resemblance view.

Notes 1.

For details of this modification, see Kivy's `Auditor's Emotions: Contentions, Concessions and Compromise', 51, 1993.

2.

R. Scruton,

The Aesthetics of Music

1997), p. 145.

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

,

(Oxford: Oxford University Press,

Emotivism

43

3.

C. Radford, `Muddy Waters', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 49,

4.

M. Budd, Music and the Emotions (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,

5.

J. Levinson, Music, Art and Metaphysics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,

6.

Derek Matravers, Art and Emotion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp.

7.

Matravers, Art and Emotion, pp. 173±4.

8.

Levinson, Music, Art and Metaphysics, p. 283

1991, p. 249.

1985), p. 125.

1990), p. 331.

177±83

9.

Matravers, Art and Emotion, p. 182.

10.

A. Ridley, `Musical Sympathies: The Experience of Expressive Music',

11.

A. Ridley, Music, Value and the Passions (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,

12.

Ridley's position now seems to me less clear than I have suggested in the

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 53, 1995, especially section 4.

1995), p. 136.

text. I am unclear whether Ridley's claim is that sympathetic attention

produces certain non-intentional feelings (`episodes of passion'), or whether he wants to say that listening to music produces sympathetic feelings of, for example, sadness or joy. In the former case, the `separable experience' objection still goes home: sympathetic attention is a contingent cause of the posited non-intentional feelings, and these therefore have no essential connection with their cause. In the latter case, what is produced by listening to music cannot be non-intentional feelings, contrary to Ridley's assertion. Further, the apparent contradiction in claiming both that the feelings aroused by music are sympathetic feelings and that they are nonintentional states is so obvious that one wonders what exactly Ridley means by the term `sympathetic'. Some strings in certain musical instruments, as in a sitar or certain makes of piano, react `sympathetically' to others. This is non-intentional sympathy, if you like, but to suggest that feelings are also non-intentionally sympathetic leaves the separable experience objection without a hint of an answer. 13.

Levinson, Music, Art and Metaphysics, p. 147.

14.

Levinson, Music, Art and Metaphysics pp. 321±2.

15.

Levinson, Music, Art and Metaphysics, p. 331.

16.

As I mentioned earlier, Scruton claims that this sort of fact is enough to show that the evocation or arousal theory is incoherent. To respond sympathetically to grief is not to feel grief, he points out. But, as I argued above, there is no reason why the arousal theory should accept that music's arousal of emotion is the arousal of something akin to a sympathetic response to a person, and it is implausible to suggest that our experience of music is of this nature. I have admitted in the text, however, that the `sympathetic response' position might seem to offer a way of meeting the `separable experience' objection, but other objections to this position rule it out.

44

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

17. T. S. Eliot,

The Dry Salvages

, in his

Four Quartets

(London: Faber and

Faber, 1944), p. 44. 18. There is of course a distinction to be drawn between sympathy and empathy; I do not draw it here, since it does not affect the nature of my argument. Both sympathy and empathy involve a sharp awareness of another person, but, I claim, identifying with the music is not at all a matter of responding as to another person.

Chapter Three Music's Arousal of Emotion

Why Hanslick is Wrong Some writers have accepted that Hanslick's argument can be countered to some extent. Levinson, for example, has argued that there is sufficient in the musical structure of passages in Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture to enable us to hear the emotion of hope expressed therein. But his position is undermined by his acceptance of the Hanslickian doctrine that `music is clearly incapable, without special assistance, of identifying for the listener a special object of emotion'.

1

It is this that leads him to suggest that an adequate

substitute for the ability to identify an object is its ability to convey `the idea or impression of having an object',

2

and to propound the

view that the listener imaginatively supplies some sort of indeterminate object for the emotion evoked by music. In fact Hanslick's argument is seriously confused. The argument, to put it again, runs as follows: any emotion centres round a thought about an intentional object. Music cannot ordinarily represent any such object, nor can it represent a thought about anything;

ergo,

music

cannot

express

emotion.

Without

the

capacity to express judgement, all we have is `indefinite feeling'. There are two fundamental mistakes in the argument. The first is the claim that if music is to evoke emotion it would have to be able to represent some extra-musical object of that emotion. The second is that it would have to express a thought about an object. Both these claims are false, and the most basic elements of musical experience show this. Take, for example, that fundamental item of Western musical experience, the passage from discord to consonance: the resolution of a dominant seventh on a tonic chord, for example. What is

45

46

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

evoked in the listener is a feeling of tension, and a desire for its resolution. And when that resolution is delayed, what is evoked is a more intense form of that desire, something akin to longing or yearning, however much we may resist these actual words to describe what is evoked. This experience of tension and relaxation is, of course, basic to our response to Western music, and the most elementary reflection on this experience must lead us to reject the two claims which are embodied in Hanslick's argument. First, it is false that music can arouse emotion only if it can represent some extramusical object of that emotion. The object of desire, or quasilonging, is not some extra-musical state of affairs, but

music,

a feature of the

namely, the resolution on the tonic. That is not a state of

affairs which music is called on to

represent;

it

is

a feature of the

music. Of course, the desired resolution may not in fact come; nevertheless, the

intentional object of the desire is a musical feature

or event: the resolution. The second claim on which Hanslick's conclusion that music cannot express emotion depends is that to do so music would have to be able to express a thought about the object of the emotion. This, too, is false. Certainly, to desire something one must at least be aware of it, or have some minimal conception of it. If that is all that is meant by having a thought about the object of

emotion,

then

we

can

accept

that

all emotion

involves

a

thought about the intentional object of the emotion. What is wholly illegitimate in Hanslick's argument is the claim that since any emotion involves a thought about an object, then if music is to

express

thoughts.

emotion

it

must

have

some

means

of

representing

This is clearly fallacious. The truth is that if music is

to be said to arouse or evoke emotion, then, since emotion involves

a

thought,

or

an

intentional

state

of

consciousness,

directed to an object, music must evoke such a directed state of consciousness. And this it does, as the most basic elements of our musical experience show. It is surprising to see just how widespread the misconception I have just

discussed

is. A

contemporary

example

is

one

from

Scruton, which was quoted earlier:

We can distinguish emotions and classify them only because we can distinguish and classify their (intentional) objects; and we can do

this

Music's Arousal of Emotion

47

only because we can identify the thoughts through which those objects are defined. In this case, it is difficult to see how a nonrepresentational art like music can really have a genuine expressive content. It would be impossible to describe that content, since its [intentional] object could never be defined.

This expresses exactly the central misconception at the heart of Hanslick's argument. Scruton clearly supposes, as does Hanslick, that music could express emotion only if it had some conceptual

expressing a proposition about the object of emotion, and describing or identifying its object. But neither is required. All that required is that it should evoke an intentional state of consciousness

means of of is

which is directed to an object. This misconception is a surprising one, given the fact that the view that what it means to say that music expresses emotion is that it evokes or arouses emotion in the sensitive listener is a standard view of the matter. The obvious truth is that to be able to evoke emotion is one thing, to be able to express a proposition about the object of emotion, or to describe or identify such an object, is quite another. One might have thought that any attempt to measure up the basic point made by Hanslick, Scruton, and others, against a standard arousalist view would show that the Hanslick point has missed its target. To repeat: we can certainly allow that to experience an emotion is to have an intentional attitude directed towards an object, but all that is required of music on the emotivist view is that it should evoke in the listener such an intentional attitude. It is the listener who identifies the object of the emotion, not the music itself. How could Hanslick have missed these points? Hanslick does indeed admit that there is `a certain class of ideas' which is quite susceptible of being adequately expressed by means which belong to the sphere of music proper. These ideas, Hanslick thinks, are those which `are associated with audible changes of strength, motion and ratio: the idea of intensity, waxing and diminishing; of motion hastening and lingering; of ingeniously complex and simple progression, etc'.

3

Later on we find the claim that `music

may reproduce the motion accompanying psychical action . . . speed, slowness . . . increasing and decreasing intensity'. But, he goes on, `motion is only one of the concomitants of feeling, not the feeling itself . . . Music cannot reproduce the feeling love, only the element of motion'.

4

And a little later he asks: `Which of

48

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

the elements inherent in these ideas [of love, wrath or fear] does music turn to account effectually? Only the element of motion'. One can see why those who have accepted the dominant contemporary analysis of emotion should have welcomed these claims of Hanslick, but it seems to me nevertheless that these remarks are thoroughly misconceived. The claim that what music can `reproduce' of emotion is `only the element of motion' fails to do justice to what I take to be the most obvious facts of musical experience.

This

becomes

perfectly

evident

as

soon

as

one

measures Hanslick's comments against our experience of that basic element of musical experience, the passage from discord to consonance, from the dominant seventh to its resolution. I have described our experience of listening to such a passage as that of the arousal of tension and a desire for its relaxation. What is evoked, then, is a state of consciousness which is not merely one of affect, but which is also intentional: a desire, affective in itself, for a specific state of affairs. To represent that as the experience of no more than motion is a gross distortion. Hanslick's position, together with its endorsement by contemporary writers, suffers from two related flaws. The first is the claim I have discussed above, that music lacks the conceptual means of identifying or describing an object of emotion and of representing a thought about it. This, I have argued, misses the central

point

that

music

evokes

intentional/affective

states

of

consciousness whose intentional objects are musical events; its lack of quasi-conceptual means to make judgements about such objects,

or

to

describe

or

identify

them,

is

quite

irrelevant.

However, the acknowledgement that this is indeed a mistake does not in itself show that the dominant `judgementalist' analysis of emotion is mistaken. It might yet be claimed that while Scruton is certainly wrong to suggest that for music to express emotion would require that it had some way of

making

judgements about

objects of emotion, yet it remains the case that if music is to express emotion it must

evoke

in us a disposition to make certain

judgements. For example, hearing the dominant seventh evokes in us a disposition to judge that its resolution would be desirable. But it is sufficient merely to spell this out to show it cannot possibly be right. The notion that what music evokes when it evokes a desire for the resolution of the dominant seventh on the tonic is simply a disposition to judge that such an outcome would

49

Music's Arousal of Emotion

be desirable fails to make any sense of the fundamental fact that what it evokes is a state of feeling. One's desire for the resolution is a state of intentional feeling, or feeling towards. To represent it as a disposition to judge in a certain way renders the aspect of feeling quite incidental, and something that might be dispensed with without serious loss, leaving us with cool judgements of value. I shall be saying a great deal about what is wrong with the standard cognitive or judgementalist construal of emotion later on. Here I simply want to insist that the flaws in the Hanslickian approach to the

question

of

music's

power

to

express

emotion

really

do

indicate that a proper understanding of this power requires that we jettison the standard cognitivist approaches to the nature of emotion. It will not be enough just to register the fact that Hanslick, Scruton and others are mistaken in supposing that music would need to have some way of `representing' (making) judgements if it were to express emotion. What needs to be recognised is that the very claim that what is central to emotion is the propensity to make evaluative judgements must be rejected. I shall argue in due course that this conception of emotion needs to be jettisoned anyway, and the fact that it makes impossible a plausible account of music's power to express emotion is just a pointer to this conclusion. I

have

argued

that

even

so

basic

an

element

of

musical

experience is that of hearing the transition from dominant seventh to tonic resolution reveals that Hanslick's claims are quite misconceived. What is evoked by this harmonic transition is emotion, and that emotion is directed to an object. One experiences a desire for the release of tension, and satisfaction when the discord is resolved. Both the desire, or `yearning', and the satisfaction, or `joy' are emotions aroused by the music and having as their intentional objects features of the music. If the harmonic transition does not result in a resolution, the feeling evoked could well be sadness, but that sadness is not sadness about `everything' or `nothing', but about the failure of the hoped-for resolution to come about. Since, as it seems to me, it is clear that music evokes genuine emotion, emotion whose intentional object is a musical feature, we need to ask what can account for the very widely held view that music cannot express genuine emotion, since it cannot `identify suggested

for

the

that

listener'

the

an

acceptance

object of

of

this

that

emotion.

doctrine

is

seen

I

have to

be

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

50

demanded by the dominant `judgementalist' analyses of emotion, an approach which construes emotion as essentially a matter of making

certain

judgements

or

evaluations,

something

which

characteristically results in certain feelings. If this view is rejected, the way is open to construct a different conception of emotion, one

which

does

justice

to

our

musical

experience.

Before

I

attempt to do that, it is necessary to look in rather more detail at what our experience of music is.

Music's Arousal of Emotion What is evoked in the basic case I have discussed, the passage from dominant seventh to its resolution on the tonic, is an experience of tension, a desire for release from that tension, and a subsequent experience of relaxation when the tension is resolved. If the resolution is delayed, the desire for it is increased, and can be something akin to longing, and the consequent experience of relaxation is similarly intensified, and can be something akin to joy. It is important to realise that here, too, the emotion has an object; it is not an objectless feeling, but joy, or triumph, at achieving the object of desire, a feeling evoked by hearing the tonic resolution. Conversely, if the hoped-for resolution does not come about, what is evoked is something like disappointment or sadness. This sadness, however, is not some objectless mood, a feeling about `everything' or `nothing', as Radford has described the feelings evoked by music,

5

but sadness directed to an inten-

tional object: the failure of the hoped-for resolution. So far I have talked about one basic feature of the music, but it is

one

which

concerns

only

a

short-term

experience

of

the

transition from tension to relaxation. It is vital to realise, however, that the evocation of intentional states of consciousness directed to features of the music is not confined to momentary tensions and

relaxations

of

the

sort

epitomised

by

the

passage

from

dominant seventh to resolution on the tonic, but is something evident

in

our

experience

of

music

of

a

much

longer

span.

Consider, for example, any of the well-known transition passages in symphonic music, such as those leading into the last movement of Beethoven's Fifth, or Schumann's Fourth, or Sibelius' Second Symphony. Our experience of these is that a mixture of intentional states is aroused: a desire for some eventual resolution; an

Music's Arousal of Emotion

51

expectation of this resolution, a wondering as to its form, a pleasurable anticipation of it when its arrival seems more certain, and pleasure and satisfaction when that resolution occurs. To take another example, our experience of the Prelude to

Tristan

must

surely have as a central element the evocation of a desire for an eventual harmonic resolution, and it is the fact that this resolution never comes which makes the work such an intense expression of longing. These states of consciousness which are evoked by music are, of course, not coldly intentional, but what I shall argue emotions always are: states of consciousness which are indivisibly both intentional and affective. Two further points need to be made here. First, if what I have argued is right, then the position shared by Hanslick and by contemporary judgementalist construals of emotion that emotion proper demands some sort of conceptualisation, belief or evaluation, must be wrong. Quite apart from the context of music, to hold to this doctrine would be to hold by implication that prelinguistic children, let alone animals, are incapable of emotion proper. Nevertheless, some may feel that many emotions essentially rest on conceptualisation in a way which precludes any possibility of music's expressing emotion. Hope, indignation, regret and pride, for example, are all inseparable from the possession of certain conceptions. Hope, said, Hanslick, is inseparable from the conception of a happier state to come, and sadness involves the conception of a past happiness. Hanslick's particular examples are, I think, not well chosen. Sadness certainly involves some sort of disappointed desire, but, as I have suggested, this is an intentional feeling which music is well capable of evoking: it can evoke a desire for (say) a resolution of a dissonance and evoke sadness when the object of that desire is not actualised. And in evoking such a desire it can arouse in the listener a hope for the satisfaction of that desire. Even if we were to suppose that such hopes and desires are possible only for beings capable of self-conscious conceptual thought (and there is no reason to suppose this), it will not follow that we must look to music to express or represent such conceptualised thought. All we should require of music is that it should

evoke

it. That is to say, it

gives rise to such emotions in the listener, and these emotions are directed to a musical feature. One might, if pushed, agree with

52

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Hanslick that hope is inseparable from a conception of a happier state to come, and that only a being capable of such a conception could experience the emotion of hope. However, it does not follow from this that music could express (evoke) the emotion of hope only if it could

express a proposition about

such a happier state

to come. It expresses the emotion of hope in so far as it evokes in a being capable of such a conception the desire, or hope, for such a (musical) state.

6

There remains, however, a range of emotions which are such that

it

is

difficult

to

accept

that

music

could

express

them:

indignation, regret, pride, remorse, for example. In relation to emotions

such

as

these,

it

might

be

argued

that

Hanslick

is

essentially right, but that he still did not grasp exactly where the problem lies. The problem really does not centre on music's inability to represent a thought, or to describe or identify an object of emotion. We have seen that the supposition that this is what music would have to do to be able to express emotion rests on a confusion. The fact that music can evoke a strong desire, even a yearning, for a musical outcome does not imply that music must have some way of expressing the thought of yearning. Similarly, it can be no bar to music's ability to express an emotion such as that of remorse that it lacks the conceptual means to represent the thought of remorse. If, according to the arousalist position, music can express yearning in being able to evoke a yearning

for

a

particular

musical

outcome,

so,

it

might

be

supposed, it can express remorse in being able to evoke a feeling of remorse, given only that we can accept that the object of that feeling is some musical event. But that, of course, we cannot do. A musical event can be desired, even longed for, or rejoiced in, and the failure of a desired musical event to be actualised can evoke sadness, but it makes no sense to suggest that a musical event could be the object of

remorse.

One might be full of remorse about all sorts of things, but musical events cannot be a proper object of remorse, any more than the sea could be an object of one's pride. We shall consider later whether this problem is as substantial as it might seem to be, and, more fundamentally, whether my suggestion as to why we feel that music could not possibly express the emotion of remorse is the most important one. But even if the objection is serious, or there is another more fundamental objection, it shows only that

53

Music's Arousal of Emotion

there are certain emotions which cannot be expressed by music. It fails to support the general thesis for which Hanslick argued, that music cannot express definite emotion. The other point I want to take up is the question of what exactly it is to identify with the music. I have argued that the suggestion that our experience of music's expression of emotion is akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response to another person is wide of the mark. It is far closer to identifying with the music, an experience in which all sense of another person disappears. The emotional vicissitudes of the music are

not

those

of another

person, but one's own: the desire, even longing, for the resolution is not that of another person, but one's own. However, to talk of the emotional vicissitudes of the music being one's own appears to give rise to the following problem. If we identify with the music's triumph, the question arises: what is the object of that triumph?

Since

it

appears

absurd

to

claim

that

the

music

is

triumphing about anything, we seem led to revert to talk of the music's triumph being objectless, or about `everything or nothing'. To dissolve this problem we need to remind ourselves of the basic claim of the arousalist position. The arousalist claims that music expresses emotion if it gives rise to that emotion in the sensitive listener, and that the intentional object of that emotion is a musical event or feature. In the context of this view, talk of identifying with the emotional vicissitudes of the music must be treated carefully. Such talk too easily suggests that the music has such emotional vicissitudes in its own right, quite independently of what the music evokes in the listener. In this vein, we might think

of

the

music

itself

as

wanting,

or

even

longing

for,

a

resolution, a longing with which we as listeners identify. That longing, of course, has an object, but if we think of the music, when it reaches a long-delayed triumphant resolution, as itself exalting, the question is, what is it exalting about? The answer cannot be that the music has arrived at a resolution; no musical event could be both a harmonic resolution and at the same time an exalting at having arrived at that resolution. The only other possible answer seems to be that the music is exalting at `everything, or nothing'. In fact, talk of identifying with the independently existing emotions of the music makes no sense. The music has or expresses

54

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

emotions only in the sense that it gives rise to such emotions in the listener. The listener, not the music itself, wants the resolution. And it is the listener who takes pleasure in, even rejoices or exalts at, the achievement of the long-delayed resolution. Certainly, while listening responsively to the music, one's emotions are all about the music, and are determined by the course of the music; one's desires are for musical events. In that sense, `You are the music, while the music lasts.'

Notes 1.

Levison, Music, Art and Metaphysics, p. 147. I do not find Levinson's later article, `Musical Expressiveness' (in his The Pleasure of Aesthetics (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 90±125) offers anything to soften

this criticism. The

expressiveness of music

is still taken

to

be

grounded in a combination of aspects bearing a behavioural resemblance to human expressive gestures and others having a conventional significance, together with what we calls `microarousal elements', by which Levinson means such things as a tempo increase producing a rise in heart rate,

a

steady

rise

in

pitch

resulting

in

anxiety,

a

grating

dissonance

inducing mild pain and so on. The fundamental problems remain: as I argued in Chapter 1, music's power to express emotion cannot rest on supposed resemblance to human expressive behaviour, nor on musical items having a purely conventional significance, nor on the combination of the two, and the introduction into the scene of `microarousal elements', not previously considered, does not lessen the force of these criticisms. Further, in so far as the perception of the first two aspects is supposed to lead to feelings of intentionality, directed to some indeterminate object, the connection between these feelings and the music remains contingent, and the `separable experience' objection remains unanswered. 2.

Levinson, p. 348

3.

Hanslick, The Beautiful in Music, p. 23.

4.

Hanslick, The Beautiful in Music, p. 24.

5.

C. Radford, `Muddy Waters, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 49,

6.

Levinson recognises that music can indeed evoke a sense of a psychological

1991, p. 249.

state's being intentional without being obliged to represent an evaluative thought or identify the object of that thought, and that Hanslick overstates his cases in not allowing this. But, as I have argued, this evocation cannot rest on perceived similarities to human expressive behaviour, since, so I claim, there are no such similarities, except of the very broadest sort. A crucial example he gives from The Hebrides overture shows what is wrong with Levinson's approach. He identifies a rising phrase involving

55

Music's Arousal of Emotion

first a leap of a fourth and then a leap of a fifth as conveying a sense of `reaching

for

something

± for

something

higher'

(Levinson,

p.

367).

Indeed it does, but it is quite wrong to suggest either that this phrase bears any resemblance to any item of human expressive behaviour, or that what is evoked is merely a sense of hoping for something we know not what. The rising phrases culminate in a brief modulation to a higher key, and it is to that musical outcome that the phrases reach. This sense of reaching for something, hoping for something, is certainly evoked in the listener, but it is hope for a specific musical end: a new, higher key and a new set of tonal relations. I cannot emphasise too strongly that the only way of answering the `separable experience' objection is to recognise that the emotions aroused by music have as their intentional objects musical states and events.

Chapter Four

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position

The view that I have just sketched, which sees music's ability to express emotion to lie in its power to arouse emotion whose intentional object is always a musical feature, has clear advantages over all the other positions I have considered, and it is worth while spelling out in detail what these advantages are. The first advantage is a very obvious one. Since, on the view I have developed, the object of the emotion which is aroused by music

is

always

objection

is

a

met.

musical To

feature,

suppose,

as

the

`separable

some

experience'

contrasting

positions

do, that what music arouses are objectless feelings is to render a solution to the `separable experience' objection impossible. The suggestion

that

the

feelings

which

are

aroused,

though

non-

intentional, somehow mirror the structure of the music is untenable, since the notion that such feelings mirror the course of the music is incompatible with the claim that such feelings are not about anything. If the feelings which are aroused by music are non-intentional, their relation to the music is solely that they are contingently the effects of listening to the music, and the notion of mirroring can have no place. The claim that our interest in music is not properly aesthetic unless it is an interest in the feelings specifically as communicated by a particular musical structure is also unsuccessful. We may have this additional interest, but it is nevertheless undeniable that, construed in this way, such feelings could occur independent of the music. To claim further that one's interest cannot be deemed properly to be an aesthetic one unless it is directed in the suggested manner amounts to no more than a linguistic decree, one without proper justification. It also seems

56

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position undeniable that these non-intentional feelings must be an

57 object

of

attention, rather than simply a product of attention to the music, and thus must inevitably distract one's attention from the music. Something other than the music becomes an object of attention: the feelings which music evokes. There are other ways of meeting the `separable experience' objection, but all these ways entail the adoption of conceptions of the expressiveness of music which are unacceptable. As I noted earlier, the `contour' view avoids it altogether, but there are, as I tried to make clear, fatal objections to that sort of view. The view that one's reaction to music is akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response

to

particular

person

certainly

avoids

sympathetic

a

response

is

the

problem,

necessarily

directed

since to

a

the

person to whom it is directed. Nevertheless, as I have argued, it

is

wholly

implausible

to

think

of

the

music

as

a

person,

undergoing a range of emotions. The view

I have sketched, by

contrast

with

those I have

considered, claims that the feelings aroused by music are emotions, and that these emotions have an object which is always a musical feature. This meets the main feature of the so-called `heresy of the separable experience'. The experiences which are aroused by music are not non-intentional states of feeling such as might be detached from the object of awareness (the music), and thus serve themselves as the object of attention. However, the claim that experiences which are aroused by music are such that it is inconceivable that they could be experienced in any nonmusical context clearly needs to be qualified. If we accept that what music arouses are indeed `garden-variety' emotions, then we must also accept that something like these feelings ± sadness, or whatever ± is indeed experienced in extra-musical life. Indeed, part of the pleasure of hearing certain pieces of music comes in the recognition that the music captures so exactly a mode of feeling we

know

from

other

contexts:

consider

how

certain

of

our

responses to nature are captured by Delius, for example. To that extent, the feeling aroused by the music is indeed a `separable experience'. The mode of intentional feeling we have towards the music is one which we have had towards states of affairs in our extra-musical life; what is recognisably the same emotion can take a variety of objects. What the view I have sketched rules out, however, is the possibility that the feelings aroused by music

58

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

could be detached from the music and be themselves the object of our attention. The second advantage of the view that music arouses emotion directed to a musical feature is that it enables us to make sense of a crucial aspect of our musical experience. As a number of writers have pointed out, the responsive listener identifies with the music, or listens to it `from the inside'. I have claimed that views which suggest that our experience of music is akin to a sympathetic or empathetic response to a person quite misrepresent our experience. In empathising with another our sense of the other is especially sharp. The experience of

identification,

by contrast, is

one in which all sense of another person is absent: `You are the music, while the music lasts'.

1

Thus, when the basic experience of

hearing the dominant seventh arouses a desire for its resolution, it is not a perception of someone else's desire which arouses an empathetic response, or anything even remotely of that sort. The desire is the listener's, and the experience of satisfaction when the resolution occurs, or sadness when it fails to occur, is also the listener's. Levinson's

position

is

equally

unable

to

accommodate

the

phenomenon of identification, though a distinctive feature of his position might suggest that this is possible. His claim, to remind ourselves, is that the perception of the expressive musical gesture leads one to imagine that someone is sad, and then to imagine

that

it

is

oneself,

the

listener,

who

is

sad,

and

has

something unspecified to be sad about. It might be argued that in this way Levinson does eventually dispense with the suggestion that our response to music is akin to our response to another person,

and

in

so

doing

he

allows

for

the

phenomenon

of

identification. But in fact this is not the case. What Levinson offers is a view which ascribes to music the power to prompt, say, feelings of sadness, but the object of these feelings is indeterminate.

Since

brought

this

about

is

my

so,

these

listening

feelings,

to

music,

though can

(contingently)

have

no

essential

connection with the music, and we have nothing in the suggested position which would make it possible to explain what it can mean to identify with the music. Music contingently arouses certain sorts of feeling in us, and that is all. Since these feelings are not essentially tied to the music, the claim that to experience such feelings is necessarily to identify with the music is groundless. I

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position

59

think it ought to be clear that the phenomenon of identification points to the position I have argued for: the music arouses in the listener feelings whose object is the music itself, and the vicissitudes of the music become our own.

2

Reflection on this central feature of our experience of music ought to have saved Malcolm Budd from what looks to be a clear mistake. Budd argues

3

that if music is in fact the object of the

emotion aroused by the music `then the person does not hear the music as being expressive of that emotion or as possessing that quality of emotion'. One may be bored by the music, admire it, or be amused by it, for example. In these cases the music is the object of one's emotion, and the emotion is aroused by the music, but the music is not expressive of boredom, nor of admiration, nor of amusement. The argument is unsuccessful. All it establishes is that there are certain attitudes to music which the music might provoke in the listener which are such that the music cannot be said to express them. It cannot follow from this that whenever the music is the object of an emotion the listener does not hear the music as expressive of that emotion. I think this is a surprising mistake, since Budd himself emphasises the very notion that provides the answer to this objection when he discusses what it is for the listener

to

hear

the

music

`from

the

inside'.

It

is

clear

that,

although in the three cases mentioned the music is the object of the listener's emotion, in none of them does the listener hear the music `from the inside', or identify with the course of the music. Music, I claim, expresses emotion when it arouses emotion in such a way that the listener comes to identify with the course of the music, or has a first-person perspective on it. What is central to the experience of identification, I suggest, is the evocation of

desire. This is clear enough with regard to the basic example I have referred to several times, music's arousal of the desire for the resolution

of

the

discord,

for

example,

or

the

desire

for

an

eventual harmonic resolution, which is central to our experience of the Prelude to Tristan, but I think it is also a crucial feature of our pleasurable response to an anticipated harmonic resolution when it arrives. This is certainly one of pleasure, but, as I shall argue in Chapter 6, pleasure is best understood as a form of felt desire, one which is at least in part coincident with its own satisfaction. At any rate, there is a clear distinction between such

60

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

involved response to music and being amused, bored or irritated by the music. It is, to repeat, quite false to suggest that where music is the object of an emotional attitude, music cannot be said to express that emotional attitude. It is a curious feature of recent discussion of this topic that most writers see no difficulty in accepting the obvious fact that the expressive nature of music is built very much on experienced tension and relaxation, and on the creation of expectation which is either fulfilled or interestingly unfulfilled. Hans Keller's assertion that the value of music which has a claim to be first class turns very much on the way the music does something different from, and

more

interesting

and

subtle

than,

what

our

background

expectations would dictate is one which perhaps most musicians and writers on music would accept. I want to argue that this basic fact of our musical experience can be accommodated only within the framework of the sort of view for which I am arguing. In particular, it is wholly unclear how the standard emotivist position, which claims that music arouses non-intentional states of feeling,

can

make

any

sense

of

the

basic

feature

of

musical

experience we are discussing. The emotivist can hardly deny that music does indeed

arouse

those

relaxation;

of

tension

experience.

and

the feelings we normally describe as these

are

matters

of

musical

Nor, it seems to me, can it be denied that the feelings

of tension and relaxation which are aroused by music are

tional

feelings.

The

experience

of

musical

tension

inten-

essentially

involves the desire for that musical outcome which will release it. Equally, the experience of resolution or relaxation essentially involves pleasure at the release of tension. These experiences are intrinsically intentional. They cannot be regarded as on a par with sensations. And even if one were to claim that the experience of tension is in itself non-intentional, it could hardly be denied that it is accompanied by a

desire for

release from it. And even if the

experience of relaxation is taken to be in itself a non-intentional event in consciousness, something like a sensation, again it cannot be denied that it is accompanied by These,

as

I

have

just

pointed

out,

pleasure at are

the relaxation.

intentional

consciousness, states of consciousness which are

evoked

states

of

by music.

The emotivist cannot sensibly deny that music arouses expectations, and that an essential aspect of the value of a piece of music lies in precisely how these expectations are realised. We are caused

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position

61

to expect a certain outcome, and are satisifed when that outcome is realised; or, perhaps, our attention is taken by the ways in which the music departs from our expectations. The states of consciousness in question are, the emotivist must accept, intentional states which are aroused by listening to music. Moreover they are pretty evidently states of

feeling;

they are hardly coldly intellectual states.

When we talk of the experience of tension and relaxation as being basic to our experience of music, the emotivist must accept that we

are

talking

intentional,

of

states

the

arousal

which

are

of

states

indivisibly

of

feeling

both

which

intentional

are and

affective. What music evokes are states of feeling directed towards an intentional object, and that intentional object is a musical feature. As Leonard Meyer puts it, `One musical event (be it a tone, a phrase, or a whole section) has meaning because it points to and

makes us expect

another musical event'

4

(my italics). Meyer's point

needs to be qualified in at least two important ways. First, we clearly have to accept that a musical event may have meaning, not in pointing to another, but in being one which a previous musical event has pointed to. Second, in connection with Keller's point mentioned above, a musical event may have meaning in being interestingly different from what a previous event may seem to point to. But the basic point remains: the variety of `expectations' that

are

evoked

by

music

are

emotional

attitudes,

and

their

intentional object is always a musical event. The standard emotivist, as I have said, must accept that the experience of tension and relaxation is the experience of states of feeling which are intentional. But the standard emotivist holds that the emotions aroused by music are essentially

non-intentional

states, akin to moods. But to hold this is to hold that, superimposed on the basic level at which tension and relaxation are experienced as intentional states, there is a further level of feeling which is evoked by the music, a level consisting of feelings which are either non-intentional, or have only a vague indeterminate object. I doubt if this position is coherent. At any rate, the posited extra layer of feeling is certainly

de trop.

The view which emerges

of the nature of our musical attention to which the standard emotivist seems to be committed is a very confused one, to say the least. The emotivist cannot sensibly deny that the experience of tension and relaxation must involve the arousal of intentional

62

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

states of consciousness, even if he or she attempts to deny that what are aroused are intentional

feelings.

But the fact that tension

and relaxation are at least linked to intentional states is enough to show that the standard emotivist has no coherent view of the nature of our musical experience. On the one hand, the basis of our musical experience in tension and relaxation clearly implies that what music arouses are intentional states of consciousness, states whose objects are musical events. On the other hand, the official emotivist doctrine is that music arouses feelings which are non-intentional and which therefore must inevitably become the object of our awareness and attention. The standard emotivist position, then, involves a division in our attention which seems to me fatal.

5

Supporters of the contrasting behavioural resemblance view may feel that they can avoid this difficulty altogether. Certainly the basic feature of tension and relaxation in music cannot be denied. But this should not be construed as a matter of music arousing feelings of tension and relaxation in us. Tension and relaxation, it might be argued, are perceptible aspects of the music, aspects, in fact, of `contour'. But this move serves only to remind us of how strong the case against the behavioural resemblance view is. It is impossible to construe tension and relaxation as aspects of the

harmonic

behavioural

features. They are

character of the music, and this, as is

generally agreed, cannot have a behavioural analogue. Kivy's attempt

to

show

how

the

harmonic

character

of

the

music

contributes to its `contour', which is in its turn construed as something resembling an item of human expressive behaviour, is, as we saw, quite unsuccessful. A third possibility is to claim that these features are part of the conventions which are comprised in the system of tonality. The argument would then be that in listening to a piece of music which embodies the features of tension and relaxation we grasp the purely conventional

meaning

which attaches

to, say, the

passage from dominant seventh to a tonic chord. Some conventionalists might suggest that in hearing such a passage we do experience

intentional

tional/affective

states

feelings; of

such

a

consciousness

passage directed

arouses to

a

intenmusical

feature. This suggestion would seem to make the conventionalist thesis simply a particular version of the object-directed emotivism

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position

63

for which I am arguing. However, as I tried to show when discussing the topic of convention earlier, the notion that tonality consists of what are basically a set of conventions is untenable, and in particular such a view could not explain why it is that we

respond to

music rather than simply understand its supposedly

conventional meaning. I conclude that the foundation of our musical experience in the fact of tension and relaxation cannot be understood within the framework of either the behavioural resemblance approach or the standard emotivist position, or the conventionalist view of music. Part of the reason why some writers have argued for the view that the feelings aroused by music are non-intentional may well be, as I suggested earlier, that they have accepted the analysis of emotion held in common by Hanslick and many contemporary writers on emotion, that emotions centre round judgements or evaluations. Only thus, it seems to me, can one begin to explain why the basic musical experience of tension and relaxation should not be recognised as a clear case of the arousal of

emotion,

feeling

directed to a (musical) object. The thought behind the failure to accept this can only be, I surmise, that, since no judgement or evaluation is represented or expressed by the music, even such evidently directed states of feeling as are central to the experience of musical tension and relaxation cannot be regarded as emotion. The standard emotivist who accepts that music arouses feelings, but denies that these feelings are to be equated with emotions directed to a specific object, is prone to argue that a central reason for refusing to accept that music arouses object-directed emotion is that these, as the cognitivist analysis tells us, are judgements or evaluations; and it is clear that although music indeed arouses feelings, it does not arouse a disposition to make judgements of various kinds. If this is indeed the thought, it rests on an analysis of emotion which, I shall argue, is untenable. This analysis is committed to regarding feelings as a non-intentional byproduct of judgement. In fact, emotional feelings are neither non-intentional, nor are they a theoretically dispensable byproduct of judgement. I shall show later that the contemporary judgementalist or cognitivist view of the nature of emotion quite misconstrues the place of judgement or evaluation in the structure of emotion.

64

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Conclusion The upshot of the discussion in which we have been engaged is that only the object-directed emotivism for which I have argued can give us a real understanding of what it can mean to talk of music expressing emotion. I say this in the light of what seems to me the evident failure of alternative positions, a failure which, I hope, has become clear in the course of our examination of them. The `contour' view cannot succeed in giving us such an understanding, as I have shown. Similarity between musical and human expressive gesture can indicate only the broadest of contraints on music's expressiveness: a swift, dancing character will preclude the expression of funereal emotion and so on. The same objection holds, of course, for those positions which, while allowing that music does indeed arouse feelings, hold that what leads to such arousal is precisely the perception of similarities between musical and human expressive gestures. All those who hold to a `behavioural similarity' view allow that the expressive power of harmony cannot be accounted for in terms of similarity between the harmonic transition and human behaviour. Such expressiveness, it is claimed, is wholly a matter of convention. I examined this claim and found it impossible to uphold. It is impossible to explain how such a set of conventions could have been learnt, let alone be found to have expressive power. Moreover, basic facts about musical sound ± the harmonic series, and the phenomenon of `beating' in particular ± indicate that the basis of the expressive power of harmony is rooted in the nature of sound, in properties which sound has in itself, and this central fact about the basis of musical experience rules out the claim that music's expressiveness rests on our ascribing to music a set of purely conventional meanings. Though there cannot be a straight read-off from the acoustical facts to the truth about the expressive power of music, the modifications which have been introduced on the basis of these acoustical facts, and which are embodied in our understanding of tonality, are all intelligible and well motivated. Underlying all this are certain powers of musical sound to

arouse certain reactions and feelings in the listener. Because the

notes of the dissonant chord beat against each other, they arouse the desire for a resolution of the dissonance: that is, for a chord in which the element of beating is expelled. That is why the basic

The Advantages of the New Arousalist Position

65

harmonic transition from dominant seventh to tonic chord is understood as a transition from emotional tension or unease to relaxation, or arriving home, or satisfaction, or even joy. My claim is, then, that our understanding of music as expressive of emotion is based on its power to arouse such emotions in us. There is no other basis of such understanding.

Notes 1.

I introduced the notion of identification in the previous chapter, and

2.

Jenefer Robinson and Gregory Karl also seem to me to miss the essential

discussed a possible difficulty with this idea.

point in their `Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony and the Musical Expression of Cognitively Complex Emotions', in Jenefer Robinson (ed.),

and Meaning

Music

(Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997). They

claim that, while it is unlikely that any music can express a hope as specific as, say, Anna Karenina's hope that she will see little Seryozha again, it is nevertheless the case that `when hope is expressed by a piece of music, it is never some generic hope in the abstract but always a fairly specific

type

of

hope. It is fervent, childlike hope for something thought to be impossible, an exuberant, confident hope for something the agent fully intends to bring about, or a quiet unassuming hope that the worst is now behind' (p. 165). However, the fact that music cannot express hope for some specific

extra-musical

intentional object does not

support

the inference that it

cannot express hope for some specific object; on the contrary, the emotion evoked by music is directed to a specific

musical

intentional object, and

must be so, if the problems in the standard arousalist position are to be avoided. 3.

M. Budd,

Music and the Emotions

(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,

1985), p. 124. 4.

Leonard B. Meyer,

Emotion and Meaning in Music

(Chicago: University of

Chicago Press, 1956), p. 35. 5.

The position argued for by Jenefer Robinson, in two papers (the second of which with Gregory Karl) is flawed in just the way I have described in the text.

She

allows

that

music

can

affect

us

`directly'.

Modulations

can

surprise us, and unexpected harmonic shifts excite us, for example. These feelings look to be not only aroused by music but also to be directed to musical events as their object. Such feelings can be aroused by short-term musical events, but also by features of the overall structure of a piece: `As we listen new expectations are constantly being aroused and we are just as constantly

being

resolutions made

surprised tense

by

novel

developments,

relieved

by

delayed

by delays, etc., etc.' (Robinson's italics). These,

too, look to be intentional states directed to the music itself. Yet music, she claims, can also convey particular types of a specific emotion (hope, say)

66

Philosophy, Music and Emotion which are not directed to the music and which do not have a precise object at all. My objection to this is that these latter states must inevitably be also the object of attention for the listener. Our experience of music, then, involves the same fatal division of attention on this view as it does for the standard emotivist. Furthermore, if such emotions do not have a specific musical object, they have only a contingent connection with the music, and the `separable experience' objection retains its force. The papers in question are Jenefer Robinson, `The Expression and Arousal of Emotion in Music', in Philip Alperson (ed.),

Musical Worlds

(Pennsylvania:

The Pennsylvania University Press, 1998), pp. 13±22; and Gregory Karl and Jenefer Robinson, `Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony' (see note 2, above).

Chapter Five Emotion, Judgement and Desire

Why the Standard Judgementalist View of Emotion is Untenable I have suggested that a fundamental reason for the inadequacy of contemporary accounts of music's expressiveness of emotion is that they are wedded to an account of emotion which is seriously flawed. In particular, the role of judgement or evaluation in the structure of emotion has been misunderstood. As I have already indicated, if it is accepted that emotions are essentially certain sorts of judgements, or that they necessarily involve the entertaining of certain evaluative propositions, it will be difficult to see how music

can

arouse

emotion.

I

will

not

attempt

to

deny

that

standardly some sort of evaluation is involved in emotion, but its place is not that ascribed to it by the `cognitivist' account of emotion. The standard judgementalist account of emotion claims that the feelings which are characteristic of the various emotions occur as the effect of the judgements or evaluations which define the emotions. Fear is essentially the judgement that something is threatening

one's

safety,

but

it

is

not

a

cool

evaluation,

for

characteristically such an evaluation will cause certain states of feeling, `bodily upsets' or `unusual physiological disturbances', and it is our awareness of these which constitutes the affective element in emotion. It is, however, true that any typical emotionjudgement may occur without in fact causing a state of feeling.

1

This sort of approach to the nature of emotion certainly shares with Hanslick the claim that some form of judgement is at the centre of each emotion. In spite of the widespread acceptance of this sort of view, it seems to me to be deeply flawed.

67

68

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

The first problem with it lies in its relegation of feeling to the status of a mere byproduct to judgement. If, as the position holds, feeling

is

simply

the

effect

of

judgement

or

evaluation,

the

judgement itself is intrinsically quite cold. No emotion-judgement

has

intrinsically

any

greater

degree

of

feeling

than

the

all

judgements `the cat is on the mat' or `2 and 2 is 4', since

judgements register zero on the Richter scale of affect. Since this is so, it must be puzzling that certain judgements have the power to produce bodily perturbations while others do not. The claim that the relevant judgements are evaluations is of no help. Lyons claimed that `as regards the sort of attitude which is essential to emotion,

it

sufficient

explanation

up'.

2

must

be

evaluative, for

why

for

we

only are

such

an

attitude

physiologically

is

stirred

But this is not a sufficient explanation. I may evaluate John

Major to have been a better prime minister than others will allow, but I experience no state of feeling while so evaluating. Nor can it be right that the relevant evaluations concern oneself, as Lyons has also suggested.

3

One may, for example, be passionately indignant

about something which does not concern one's own welfare at all. Furthermore, as most proponents of this sort of view will admit, it is always possible for a typical emotion-judgement to be made

without

feeling.

The

power

of

certain

judgements

to

produce states of feeling is therefore both mysterious and erratic. Robert Solomon has argued that the affective aspect of emotion is accounted for if we recognise that emotions are judgements. offence,

4

networks

of

He claims that `Anger is not just a judgement of

but

a

network

of

interlocking

judgements

. . .

An

emotion is the entire system of judgements, and the judgements that constitute the emotion are emotional by virtue of their place in that system.' Only a single judgement could appear as affectless, and that is because its isolated state, divorced from a system or network of judgements, is `pathological'. I don't think this approach can succeed. For one thing, some emotions do not involve anything like a network of judgements. If a shoelace snaps, my (pretty intense) irritation hardly embraces a whole

system

of

judgements,

and

it

is

questionable

whether

anything like a fully-fledged judgement appears at all. And if we take the case of more complex emotions, the suggestion that one consciously entertains a whole network of judgements at any one time is clearly implausible. Let us suppose, then, that one

69

Emotion, Judgement and Desire

consciously entertains just one judgement, with the others there as latent possibilities. If that is the picture, it is difficult to see how the here-and-now affective aspect of emotion, the fact that the state

of

consciousness

explained

by

the

is

actually

presence

of

a

a

state

merely

of

feeling,

potential

could

be

network

of

judgements which is not actually in consciousness at all. It is also

difficult

judgements

to

see

which

what

are

could

deemed

distinguish to

the

constitute

networks

emotions

of

from

networks of judgements which clearly are not themselves emotions, as, for example, complex legal judgements are not.

Desire and Intentional Feeling The flaws in the `judgementalist' approach are, however, more profound

than

this.

In

order

to

see

what

the

most

serious

problems with this sort of view are, we must turn away from a direct consideration of emotion as such, and consider a state of consciousness which is at the heart of most (but not all) of the states we call emotion, and that is desire. Some accounts of desire are

`judgementalist'

in

a

way

which

parallels

the

dominant

account of emotion. To desire X is, we are told, essentially to judge X to be good, or worthy of pursuit. Some desires, it will be admitted, are indeed states of feeling, and their being states of feeling is a matter of this sort of judgement causing some sort of bodily perturbation of which one is aware. Such an account is to be rejected for just the sorts of reason which have presented themselves as reasons for rejecting judgementalist accounts of emotion. However, the more fundamental reason for rejecting this sort of approach is that it does not allow us to make sense of an important distinction between categories of desire. Stephen Schiffer introduced a distinction between what he called

reason

following

desires

providing desires on the other.

on 5

the

one

hand

and

reason

Reason following desires are

such that, whether or not one in fact desires X, there is

reason

to

desire it. If X is the object of a reason-following desire, then it is the case that a world in which one lacks the desire for X is nevertheless a world in which there is reason to desire it. I shall say that the objects of such desire are seen to have an objective value: objective just in respect of the fact that their value is held to obtain independently of one's desires. One's desire is consequent upon

70

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

the recognition of this value. An obvious example of this sort of desire is the desire to do one's duty. Doing one's duty must be ascribed a value which is independent of whether one desires to do one's duty. Matters

providing

are

quite

different

with

what

Schiffer

calls

reason

desires. These are such that the reason for pursuing X

consists simply in the fact that one desires X. A world in which one lacks the desire to pursue X is a world in which one has no reason so to do. An example of this sort of desire is provided by any pastime: generally, if one lacks the desire to (say) go fishing, there can be no reason so to do. I think this distinction is broadly correct. Schiffer goes on to claim that there is always a phenomenological aspect to reasonproviding (`r-p') desires, and it is this claim I want to consider. The point is, I think, of central importance, though it will need qualifying: the claim that there is

always

an affective aspect to r-p

desire certainly cannot be sustained. Furthermore, it seems to me that Schiffer's own explanation of the connection between r-p desire and feeling is mistaken. He suggest that if one's desire to ù is an r-p desire, then `one's desire to ù, one's desire to gain the pleasure of satisfying one's desire to ù, and one's desire to relieve the discomfort of one's desire to ù are all one and the same desire'.

6

However, it is wholly unclear how the desire to engage

in some activity or bring about some state of affairs could be the same as the desire for a particular state of consciousness. The desire, one is inclined to respond, is of some sort

either

for some activity or end

or for a state of feeling which engaging in that activity

or achieving that end produces, and it is impossible that these are one and the same desire. If the desire is in fact for a certain sort of pleasure or relief from discomfort, then, or so it would seem, anything else we desire we desire as a means to that pleasure or relief of discomfort. That looks like a hedonistic position, and it thus brings with it all the problems with hedonism. I shall consider some of these problems later. The real reason why there is an essential connection between rp desires and affectivity is quite different. If we accept for the moment that there are at least some r-p desires which have an affective aspect, the cognitivist view must be that the experience of desire comprises the making of a judgement or evaluation plus some sort of affective overlay, an element which appears either as

Emotion, Judgement and Desire

71

the effect of this judgement, or somehow colours it. But if this is the right view of desire, then the affective overlay is incidental, something not in the least essential to the essence of desire, which, on this view, consists in the evaluative judgement. The element of feeling is a sort of affective varnish which might be cleaned off, leaving the pure affectless judgement underneath. But what could such a judgement be? Well, in the case of reason- following desires, that judgement or thought would be that the object of awareness has some objective value and ought to be pursued; and it is this thought or desire which may be coloured by an element of affectivity. The desire would thus be dependent on the recognition of X as having objective value, in the indicated sense of this term. In the case of reason -following desires, the affective aspect does indeed appear to be incidental, something which might be cleaned off to leave the essence of the desire. This, however, is an account of desire which can be true only of reason-following desires. With these, as I have said, the notion that

whatever

affective

overlay

there

is

is

dispensable

makes

perfect sense. What is left is a cool judgement of the value of the object of one's desire. But it is not possible to construe reason-

providing

desire in this manner. In the case of r-p desires there can

be no prior recognition of the value of the object of desire, a value which serves as the ground and explanation of desire, since the fact that one desires X serves as the only reason for pursuing X. To remove the affective aspect would not, then, leave one with a pure affectless judgement, evaluation or `pro-attitude'. At best, it would leave one with a mere awareness of X, or of the possibility of achieving X, but nothing that could motivate the pursuit of X. Shorn of the element of feeling, the decision to pursue X in the full recognition that X has no objective value would be no more than a mere whim, a groundless, or `radical' choice. Another suggested way of construing such desires in a way which avoids any suggestion of feeling might be that they are simply revealed as dispositions to act in pursuit of the end of desire. The temptation to offer some such behaviourist account of mental phenomena is ever present in the philosophy of mind, but always results in analyses which are inadequate, an inadequacy which is quite obvious in the suggestion under review. Such an account of r-p desire would give us no way of understanding what it could be for a subject to recognise them as states of conscious-

72

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

ness which

lead to

action. Someone who reports that they long to

(say) go fishing, or crave for a drink, cannot possibly be supposed to be reporting on a behavioural disposition. How, one must ask, could

the

subject

have

knowledge

of

an

as

yet

unactualised

behavioural disposition? And even if there were some way of knowing how one will behave in the future, this can hardly be what knowing what one's present desire is amounts to. I know that I shall fall asleep in the next twenty-four hours, but this is not something I presently desire. It is totally obvious that the subject is not reporting on a mere potentiality, but on an actual state of consciousness. That state of consciousness, I have already argued, cannot be a cool decision to pursue a certain end, made in the full knowledge that that end has no objective value independent of one's desire for it: that would reduce it to an inexplicable whim. An r-p desire, then, cannot be based on a cool thought that X is desirable, a thought which may or may not be overlayed with an affective aspect. An r-p desire is therefore a state of consciousness which is at one and the same time both intentional and affective: it is a state of intentional feeling. Feeling or affect is an indispensable aspect of r-p desire, not because such desires are desires for pleasure or relief of discomfort, but because such desires are a sort of warm interest, or feeling towards, the object of desire. Feeling is an essential element of r-p desire, not because the necessary such

desire

is

a

state

of

feeling

(pleasure

or

discomfort), but because r-p desire is a form of

the

object

relief

of of

feeling towards.

Such desires are indissoluble intentional/affective states of consciousness. If feeling is construed as some sort of affective coloration of thought, something that might be cleaned off to leave the pure affectless judgement or evaluation, then that evaluation is rendered groundless, a product of whim. We might construe Schiffer as offering the suggestion that we avoid this undesirable implication by accepting that r-p desires are desires for pleasure. But that view

is

untenable:

it

embroils

us

in

all

the

inescapable,

and

unanswerable, problems with any hedonistic position. Neither pleasure nor any other object of feeling is the That is not how r-p desires motivate.

object

of r-p desire.

Emotion, Judgement and Desire

73

Why not all Reason-providing Desires have an Affective Dimension

I have admitted above that it would be grossly implausible to claim that all r-p desires necessarily have an affective aspect, as Schiffer claims. I experience no state of feeling when I desire to a buy a bottle or two of beer from the corner shop, or to ring up and book a tennis-court. But these are r-p desires. The only reason for engaging in these activities is provided by my desire so to engage. It might even be suggested that, contrary to Schiffer's claim, most r-p desires are devoid of any affective or phenomenological aspect. I think such a response overlooks an important point. To take the two examples mentioned, while it is of course true that the desire to pick up an extra bottle or two of beer from the shop is not standardly a felt desire, it is pretty evident that that particular desire makes sense to us only as a manifestation of background desires which must be affective: the desire for beer and, more basically, the appetite of thirst. The notion that the desire or choice to engage in the activity of drinking beer could be a totally affectless one is deeply counter-intuitive in a way in which the suggestion that my desire to buy an extra bottle is not. In the same way,

though

the

desire

to

ring

and

book

a

tennis-court

is

standardly an affectless one, it surely presupposes a desire which could not be affectless: the desire to play tennis. Of course, one may play tennis purely as a way of keeping fit, but, that apart, the desire needs to be shown to be intelligible. It can make no sense to suggest

that,

objective

in

value

the (in

full the

recognition indicated

that

sense),

the it

is

activity simply

has

no

chosen.

Nor, of course, is it an activity which we simply engage in without conscious choice. To make sense of it, we need to have recourse to notions such as being attracted by, being drawn to, being absorbed in or engrossed by, anticipating with pleasure, and enjoying. Like the notion of desire itself, these notions denote states of consciousness which are states of feeling in the ordinary sense endorsed by common usage and understanding: they, like sensations, are capable of different degrees of intensity, warmth, or strength. Desire, for example, can be anything from the sort of affectless state mentioned above at one end of the spectrum to a state of yearning, longing, or craving at the other. And in referring

74

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

to these degrees of intensity or warmth, one is not referring to dispositions to behave, but to the actual state of consciousness which is responsible for the behavioural manifestation, whatever that may be. But although these states of consciousness are states of feeling just as clearly as are sensations, they, unlike sensations, are also intentional states. They are, as I have said, indissoluble intentional/affective states of consciousness, or states of

feeling

towards.

What is the Exact Role of Intentional Feeling? I have argued that the notion of intentional feeling, of feeling towards is absolutely essential to our understanding of emotion and desire, and I shall shortly argue that it is essential to our understanding of the nature of pleasure. There is, however, a question which needs more consideration. I have claimed that in relation to r-p desire we cannot construe the affective aspect as a sort of varnish which might be cleaned off to leave the pure affectless value-judgement underneath. Such an operation, even if it were possible, would leave only a bare awareness of the object of attention, and nothing more. One might be tempted to put this point by saying that the affective aspect, the state of feeling towards, is the ground of any value-judgement, and therefore cannot be a dispensable gloss on any value-judgement. I think, however, that the suggestion that an r-p desire of the basic sort comprises a value judgement (the thought that the object of one's desire is good) together with an underlying affective/intentional state which somehow grounds that judgement might need qualifying. The view under consideration gives rise to the question as to how a state of feeling towards, which is not itself evaluative, can nevertheless ground an evaluative attitude or judgement. One might, however, respond that evaluations must be grounded in something which is not itself an evaluation; otherwise they would appear as groundless, `radical' choices, mere whims. Desires,

one might argue, are the

obvious grounding for evaluations: what better ground could there be for my evaluation of (say) a particular food or drink as good than the fact that I desire it and find it pleasurable? An alternative approach, however, is to accept that to desire X is at least to have what is implicitly a positive evaluative attitude

Emotion, Judgement and Desire

75

towards X, what used to be called a `pro-attitude'; it must involve regarding what one desires as good. I have argued that this cannot be a cool evaluation, made in the full knowledge that what one desires does not have a value independent of one's desire, since this would mean that one's evaluation was nothing more than a groundless whim. If we allow for the sake of the argument that feeling cannot be introduced as that which grounds or justifies the evaluative attitude, since, so the suspicion has it, it is impossible to see how an intrinsically non-evaluative state of feeling can ground or justify an evaluative attitude, the question arises, why, nevertheless, is it important to acknowledge that a basic r-p desire is not merely an intentional state of consciousness, but an intentional

feeling,

feeling towards?

a state of

The importance of the fact that a basic r-p desire is a state of intentional

feeling

lies not in the disputed claim that such a state of

consciousness grounds our evaluation, but in the fact that only the notion of intentional feeling allows us to make sense of the fact that the ends of r-p desires are not

chosen.

We are drawn to the

ends of r-p desires, more or less strongly. In an important sense, we are

passive

in relation to basic r-p desires, just as we are in

relation to emotion. Neither r-p desires nor emotions are chosen, however they may be subject to critical assessment when we have them. Again, only the recognition of emotions and r-p desires as states of intentional feeling allows us to accommodate this. An essential feature of r-p desires is the passivity of the agent who experiences them. I do not mean by this that the agent is a helpless pawn, pushed in this or that direction by their desires. Of course, the rational agent should be able to stand back from their desires and assess them, and introduce an order of priority among them, to decide, as Frankfurt put it, which of one's desires one will allow to determine one's will, one's desires are

7

but that is not to say that the objects of

chosen. One is drawn to such objects, more or less

strongly. I have said that ordinary language and understanding endorse the claim that desires are experienced as having different degrees of warmth or intensity, and are therefore feelings; having different degrees of strength or warmth is, after all, what picks out a sensation such as that of pain as a feeling. A desire can grow in strength, just as a pain can. Some might object that this point does not, as I suppose, justify talk of intentional states such as that of

76

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

desire or any of the emotions as feelings. One might talk of one's growing conviction of the truth of a certain position, but it does not follow from that that one's conviction is a state of feeling. However, although we might talk of desires, pains and also convictions as growing or fading, this linguistic similarity should not be allowed to mislead us into thinking that they are on a par. It would certainly be extraordinary to suggest that because talk of a conviction as growing or fading does not support the idea that a conviction is a sort of feeling, our talking of pains as growing or fading also does not support the view that the pains are feelings. In fact it is clear that to talk of a conviction as growing or fading is not at all the same thing as to talk of a pain or a desire as growing or fading. To say that one has a growing conviction that

p is to say, p

perhaps, that what one used to think of as possible objections to

can now be discounted, that there are considerations which now appear to point conclusively to the truth of

p,

and so on. Clearly,

to talk of a desire as growing is not in the least to say that, for example, considerations which once appeared to suggest that X was not desirable can now be discounted, or that there now appear to be conclusive reasons for desiring X, or anything of that sort.

The

similarity

convictions allowed

to

is

in

entirely

disguise

the

the

way

we

superficial, essential

talk

one

of

both

which

difference

desires

should

between

and

not the

be

two

cases. To talk of a conviction as growing does not, therefore, imply that one's conviction has an affective aspect. It

may have, of

course: one may hold to one's belief with an emotional intensity. But that is not an essential feature of convictions. I have no doubt that much more needs to be said on the question of value, but it is enough for my purposes if I have rendered plausible the idea that the desire for many of our ends would be inexplicable if we did not have recourse to the notion that such desires are states of feeling towards. It is, to be sure, contingently the case that one feels towards certain ends as one does, that such ends are the objects of r-p desire. This may invite the following objection to the position I have argued for. We can all agree that, with respect to the objects of r-p desire, it is contingently the case that we desire those particular objects and not others, and thus that we value them as we do. Now if the question is how such value-choices can be grounded, it is difficult to see how that question is answered by pointing out that we

77

Emotion, Judgement and Desire contingently

feel towards

contingency

of

our

them in a certain way. How can the

value-choice

be

grounded

in

the

equal

contingency of our feeling? What explanatory purpose is served by the addition of a further layer of contingency? Such an objection betrays a major misunderstanding. It is not to free ourselves of brute contingency that the notion of feelingtowards is introduced. However one turns, it remains a brute contingent fact that certain states of affairs are the object of r-p desire and not others. It is not contingency from which we need to be freed, but from a view which reduces our valuations to mere acts of whim, `radical' and totally groundless choices. No such threat is present with respect to reason-following desires, since the objective value of the end, and one's recognition of it, provides the necessary freeing from arbitrary choice. The recognition of objective value provides the grounds for one's desire. Lacking this in the case of the object of r-p desire, two possible explanations of our pursuit of such an object suggest themselves. Either our pursuit of that object is a deliberate but utterly arbitrary choice, a groundless

choice

of

a

`radical

chooser',

8

or

it

is

merely

an

unreflective disposition to act as we do, such that to talk of a positive

evaluation

of

that

object

is

to

talk

only

of

what

is

manifested in our behaviour. The former, I have claimed, is quite unacceptable. The latter retreats from the notion of selfaware choice and action and replaces it with something which, I think it is hoped, might help us to construe such behaviour as something which does not necessarily involve conscious choice ± something much more automatic or habitual. This view might be supported by the claim that what prompts our behaviour is not so much explicit judgement or evaluation as a `pro-attitude'. This, so it may be argued, is a way of doing justice to the fact that there is an important sense in which we are passive with respect to r-p desire. But the move does not succeed. It is true that we are passive in relation to such evaluations, but we are not lacking in self-awareness: we do not simply act, we are act. Only the notion of

feeling towards

consciously moved

this. Note again that the necessary idea is that of cannot be merely the idea of

feeling,

to

can help us make sense of

feeling towards.

It

construed as some sort of

non-intentional quasi-sensation. R-p desire is (often) a state of

feeling,

but it cannot be a state of

sensation,

state of feeling, however `psychic'.

or any non-intentional

78

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Nothing is more surprising in contemporary philosophy of mind than the failure to make sense of, or even to accept, the notion of feeling. Michael Stocker has claimed that much of contemporary philosophy of mind is `pathological' in respect of omitting, or distorting, or failing to understand this notion.

9

I

think this failure of understanding shows itself particularly in the repeated claim, or assumption, that feelings are either sensations, or at least like sensations in being non-intentional. We have noted the point made explicitly by more than one writer on music that what music gives rise to are non-intentional feelings, and the rejection of the idea that the aroused feelings could be intentional. Contemporary writers on emotion have also repeatedly made the claim that the essence of emotion must be some sort of judgement, for only this will allow us to make sense of the truth that emotions are about something, and can also be assessed as rational or

irrational,

justified

or

unjustified,

something

which,

it

is

claimed, no feeling-theory of emotion can do. In fact the notion of intentional feeling is absolutely essential to our understanding of music's power to express emotion, and of the

nature

of

desire,

emotion,

and

pleasure,

and

of

human

motivation and valuation. Let us take for consideration the basic notion of appetite. A craving for a refreshing drink, which is the sort of experience typically had by anyone suffering from flu, presents

itself

as

a

state

of

consciousness

of

some

degree

of

intensity which is directed to an object. It is clearly an intentional feeling, a state of feeling towards. And so with any appetite. To suppose that appetites present themselves purely as some sort of sensation

is

to

misconstrue

them

utterly.

Sensations

are

not

directed to anything; an appetite, such as that of thirst, clearly is. Such sensations as there are might well be associated or caused by any of a whole range of intentional/affective attitudes. An appetite is itself an intentional feeling, a state of consciousness which is directed with a degree of intensity, strength, or warmth, which can change. Just as we cannot regard an appetite as a sort of sensation, neither can we

regard it as a cool thought which

(magically) produces a variety of sensations. Not only is this latter account clearly false to our experience, but it fails to explain why one is motivated to get a drink. If one adds that what comes to consciousness is not simply a thought about a drink, but a desire for it, the oddity remains. Why should one coolly desire some-

79

Emotion, Judgement and Desire thing

which

has

no

objective

value?

Such

desires

look

like

arbitrary choices, grounded on nothing. If that is the nature of our experience, we are left without any understanding of why one chooses to go for a drink rather than (say) eat a lump of coal. Appetites cannot be cool desires. They must be states of intentional feeling, intentional/affective states. Cravings, for example, clearly cannot be cool desires. But cravings are at one end of a spectrum; they are not states which have nothing in common with desires of a lesser intensity. A final point that needs to be emphasised again is that appetites, and r-p desire generally, are not states we decide to have. In an important sense, we are

passive

in relation to such states. This is

true, of course, of emotions in general. No view of the nature of r-p desire other than the one I have suggested can make sense of this feature of our experience. A behavioural disposition may indeed happen to be realised, but, as I have said, to construe r-p desires in this way gives us no way of understanding first-person reports of such states. The subject of such a report will undoubtedly take it that what is reported is the presence of a state of consciousness which is the

cause

of subsequent behaviour, rather

than merely a disposition so to behave. The other suggestion I have considered, that such desires are affectless, reduces them to mere whims, as I have claimed, and in so doing also fails to make sense of their essential passivity. We do not, in having such a desire, simply

decide

to pursue a certain end as a sort of groundless

`radical' choice. Only the notion of r-p desires as intentional

feeling

can make sense of their essential passivity. Note again that

reason-following desires are also in an important sense passive; we do not arbitrarily decide to pursue the ends of such desire, either. However,

the

reason

why

the

ends

of

these

desires

are

not

arbitrarily chosen as an act of radical choice is simply that we recognise what we take to be the objective, desire-independent value

of

such

ends,

and

the

desire

is

consequent

upon

this

recognition. I have claimed that it is not essential to these desires that they be states of intentional feeling, though, of course, they very often are. I now want to say that the essential passivity of such desires does not require that they be states of feeling. However, reason-providing desires must be states of feeling, or be based on desires which are states of intentional feeling. It is very strange indeed that such obvious facts about our

80

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

experience have been denied. reflection

that

appetites

are

10

Just as it should be obvious on

intentional

feelings,

in

this

case

affective desires, so it should be equally obvious that emotions, warm desires and pleasure are varieties of intentional states with an essential and indispensable affective aspect. To adopt any other view of emotion leaves us incapable of offering a coherent view of what it is for music to express emotion. This is a point which I have already argued for, and I shall return to it when I have completed my account of the nature of emotion. And more broadly, to take any other view of emotion would preclude any understanding of human motivation and valuation. The ground of the opposition to the notion of intentional feeling undoubtedly lies in the view that only thought, and the varieties of thought, can be directed to an object; feelings themselves, it is supposed, cannot be about anything. But this response in fact begs the question

from

the

outset.

It

assumes

that

where

desires

and

emotions are also states of feeling, they are a conjunction of thought, which is necessarily intentional, and feeling, which is construed after the model of sensations, as something essentially non-intentional. But I have claimed that such states of consciousness are indissolubly intentional/affective states, intentional feelings, or states of feeling-towards. To revert to the example of an appetite such as hunger, the fact that hunger may be anything on a scale from mild hunger at one end of the spectrum to ravenous craving at the other can only be understood if we accept that hunger is an intentional feeling, capable of different degrees. It would be absurd to suggest that the different degrees of intensity are simply different degrees of the intensity of bodily sensations which accompany or are brought about by an essentially cool thought as to the desirability of food, a desire which cannot intrinsically be anything other than totally affectless.

11

Notes 1.

See,

among

Edwards

many

(ed.),

in

others,

W.

Alston,

`Emotion

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy Emotion

Macmillan, 1967); W. Lyons,

,

and Vol.

Feeling', 2

(New

Paul York:

(Cambridge: Cambridge University

American Philosophical The Structure of Emotions

Press, 1982); J. Shaffer, `An Assessment of Emotion',

Quarterly

, 20, 1983; and R. Gordon,

Cambridge University Press, 1987).

(Cambridge:

81

Emotion, Judgement and Desire 2.

W. Lyons,

Emotion

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p.

Emotion,

p. 35: `The angry man evaluates something as a slight

58. 3.

W. Lyons, to

himself.

It is this relating of events to ourselves . . . our friends or loved

ones, that generates emotion.' 4.

R. Solomon, `On Emotions as Judgements',

terly,

American Philosophical Quar-

25, 1988, pp. 186±7.

American Philosophical Quarterly ,

5.

S. Schiffer, `A Paradox of Desire',

6.

Schiffer, `A Paradox of Desire', p. 199.

7.

H. Frankfurt, `Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person',

Philosophy, 8.

1976.

Journal of

1971.

For convincing argument in support of the view that the theory of radical choice as it is presented by Sartre is `deeply incoherent', see Charles Taylor, `Responsibility for Self', in Gary Watson (ed.),

Free Will

(Oxford

University Press, 1982). 9.

M.

Stocker,

`Psychic

Feelings:

Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 10.

Their

Importance

and

Irreducibility',

61, 1983.

`Emotions are intentional; feelings are not,' declares Robert Solomon. See his `Emotions and Choice', in A. O. Rorty (ed.) (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980),

Explaining Emotions,

279.

This assumption was almost universal until very recently. As we have seen, it is a view shared by some of the writers on music whom I have discussed. 11.

Scepticism about judgementalist accounts of emotion has been growing in recent years. I have mentioned the views of Hamlyn, Stocker and Patricia Greenspan, and after sketching the ideas developed in this chapter I came across Bennett W. Helm's paper, `The Significance of Emotions',

Philosophical Quarterly,

American

31, 1994, whose general position is consonant with

mine. However, Jenefer Robinson's paper, `Startle',

Journal of Philosophy,

92, 1995, another anti-judgementalist treatment of emotion, seems to me to go awry. Her view that an emotional response is `a characteristic bodily response which draws my attention insistently to the situation and its significance to me . . .' (p. 67) seems to me to get things the wrong way round. I do not in seeing a car careering out of control towards a group of pedestrians need any bodily response (`startle') to draw my attention to its significance. On the contrary, it is only because I am only too aware of its significance that a physiological reaction will almost certainly result.

Chapter Six

Pleasure and Emotion

I have argued that reason-providing desires cannot be construed as evaluative judgements which happen to cause some nonintentional state of feeling, nor are they desires for a feeling of pleasure or relief from displeasure. Feeling enters not as the object of the desire, nor as a dispensable affective gloss on a judgement or evaluation, but as one aspect of the indissoluble intentional/affective state which is (r-p) desire. I now want to argue that substantially the same sort of account is true of pleasure. After that, I shall try to show how all this applies to the analysis of emotion. My aim is to show, as with the case of desire and of pleasure, that it is a total misconception to construe emotion in a way which places the entertaining of judgements or evaluations at the centre. We have seen that such a conception can make no sense of basic reason-providing desire. I shall eventually argue that it can make no sense of emotion either. It would, indeed, be extraordinary if the proper analysis of emotion turned out to be substantially different from that which we have found to be essential for desire. Intentional feeling lies at the heart of emotion, just as it does at the heart of desire and, as I shall show, of pleasure. It is because current accounts of what it is for music to express emotion operate with what has been the dominant account of emotion which relegates

feeling

to

the

status

of

an

essentially

dispensable

byproduct of judgement that they have failed to come to a proper understanding of the nature of musical expression. The notion of pleasure is clearly central to a proper analysis of emotion. Pretty well any emotion is either pleasurable or painful, or some combination of these states. Music, in expressing various emotions, is expressing varieties of pleasure and/or pain. A full

82

Pleasure and Emotion

83

understanding of what it is for music to express emotion must therefore embrace an account of the nature of pleasure. In thinking about the nature of pleasure, we tend to be pulled in two different directions. Much of our thinking propels us towards a hedonist conclusion, or at least towards the view that pleasure is a non-intentional feeling, or range of non-intentional feelings. Persuaded that no sort of hedonist construal of pleasure will do, we tend to adopt a view which comes from Ryle, the view that pleasure is a sort of heed, or, as one proponent of this sort of position put it, a form of `positive appraisal'. Another philosopher of this persuasion has argued that coming to enjoy something is coming to think of the activity one enjoys as worth engaging in for its own sake. I hope that I am not misrepresenting this

position

in

suggesting

that

what

are

offered

are

various

judgementalist construals of pleasure; that is, they are views which see

the

essence

of

pleasure

to

lie

in

some

sort

of

positive

evaluation, judgement, or `appraisal', and, as such, they share a basic approach with judgementalist approaches to the nature of emotion. I shall argue that neither approach to the nature of pleasure can be accepted. In particular, neither approach offers us any way of understanding how music could express pleasurable or painful emotion. As in the case of the dominant current account of emotion, which cannot allow an intelligible view of what it is for music to express emotion, so in the case of pleasure: neither of the positions I have just sketched gives us any way of making sense of music's expression of emotions which are, as almost all emotions are, pleasurable or painful.

The Threat of Hedonism I begin with an examination of the view that pleasure is a nonintentional feeling, or range of non-intentional feelings. I shall shortly examine the considerations that have led some notable philosophers to adopt some version or other of this position, and of the attendant temptation to adopt what is basically a hedonist position. Even when we are convinced of the falsity of hedonism, it is by no means easy to arrive at a satisfactory alternative construal of the nature of pleasure, and we can find ourselves pulled back towards a basically hedonist position.

84

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

I shall adapt Schiffer's distinction between reason-following and reason-providing cases, which Schiffer introduced in relation to desire, and apply it to the case of pleasure. I shall talk of a distinction between reason-providing pleasure on the one hand, which corresponds fairly directly to reason-providing (r-p) desire, and the sort of pleasure which, rather less directly, corresponds to the category of reason-following (r-f) desire. I say less directly, since the notion of reason following desire applies to desires for ends which are such that they provide a reason to desire them even in a world in which one lacks such a desire, but I don't think it makes sense to suggest that there are ends which provide a reason for taking pleasure in them, even in a world in which one does not take pleasure in the end in question. The parallel I wish to draw is that, just as there are desires which wait upon one's recognition of the objective value of an end, so there are cases of taking pleasure in something which result from one's recognition that the object of one's attention has some objective value (in the indicated sense). Let us focus on the nature of reason-providing pleasure. The objects of reason-providing pleasure are such that the only reason for attending to or pursuing such objects or states of affairs is that one takes pleasure in them. A world in which such ends are not conducive to pleasure is a world in which one has no reason to attend to them. The suggestion that the value of some of our ends is solely a matter of their conduciveness to pleasure might seem to lead directly to a hedonistic position. The suggestion seems indistinguishable from the sort of position argued for by, for example, Sidgwick.

1

It was clear to him that the value of nearly all our ends

was a matter of their conduciveness to pleasure, and that the value we ascribe to them is proportional to the degree to which their realisation is conducive to pleasure. It follows, he thought, that only one thing has intrinsic or ultimate value, and that is pleasure itself. Pleasure he defines as `a feeling apprehended as desirable by the sentient individual at the time of feeling it'. Everything else has only instrumental value. On Sidgwick's view, then, nearly all pleasures are what I have called `reason-providing' pleasures, and a proper reading of these must, on Sidgwick's view, lead to the conclusion that getting the sort of feeling we call pleasure provides the point of doing pretty

85

Pleasure and Emotion

well anything whatsoever. The only qualification to be introduced is that intuition tells us that we are rationally bound to pursue not only our own good, but the good of all impartially, and this rational obligation is independent of whether attending to it brings us pleasure. The question that now suggests itself is, if it is granted that the value of the ends of r-p pleasure rests in our taking pleasure in them, how can this position fail to entail the sort of position argued for by Sidgwick? That is a question whose answer will appear later on. I want to argue first that the view of pleasure as desirable feeling must be rejected.

Hedonism,

which

the

view

of

pleasure

as

desirable

feeling inevitably leads to, is not an acceptable or even coherent position. I think the objections to hedonism are fairly widely understood and accepted, but because there are philosophers of no

mean

ability

who

are

still

prepared

to

argue

for

it,

it

is

worthwhile setting out precisely why it is not a tenable position. The first point to be made is that the idea that there is some state of feeling which is always necessarily desirable is a strange one. If pleasure is a feeling or a range of feelings, we might expect it to be found, at least occasionally, undesirable, even if we allow that most of the time it is the sort of feeling that we desire. That seems to be true of other feelings. The notion that there is some necessary connection between a state of consciousness and the desire for it seems an extraordinary one. What is it about this feeling which could explain this unique feature? Indeed, if one is persuaded by Hume that between `distinct existences' there can be only a contingent connection, one will have further reason for rejecting this claim. If the state of consciousness (the feeling of pleasure) is one thing and the desire of it is another, it needs to be explained how the first necessarily brings about something else, namely, the desire for it. If

we

accept

Hume's

claim

about

the

contingency

of

the

connection between distinct existences, it looks as if there is a more fundamental point to be made about the hedonistic position. If what gives value to any activity is that it is conducive to pleasure,

it

looks

as

if

we

have

a

contingent

causal

relation

between an activity and a state of feeling. If that is so, then there is a possible world in which the effect occurs in the absence of that particular cause. And since it is this effect which has intrinsic value, any way of bringing it about would be acceptable. There

86

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

can be no point, therefore, in desperately trying to get tickets for the concert or the match you have been looking forward to for weeks, and then enduring all the hassle of getting there, if taking a small pill will give you the feeling of pleasure. All the usual means to pleasure become theoretically dispensable. This certainly looks absurd: one would ordinarily think that if one has been longing to get to that international match there will be nothing that can possibly be a substitute for it. One might think that the force of this objection rests on the supposition

that

pleasure

as

the

effect

of

(say)

watching

the

international match is separable from any such cause, and can thus be considered in isolation from it. One or two philosophers have suggested that one can hold to a hedonist conception of pleasure, but reject the view that pleasure is a separable experience, and thus avoid the objection just outlined. We might, for example, think of pleasure as an aspect of a total experience, in something like the way that a property such as shape is an aspect of an object

possessing

other properties. Shape

is

not

a

distinct

object, and neither, it could be claimed, is pleasure. It is the pleasure of listening to music, or of smelling the hyacinths, which one experiences, not some distinct sensation of pleasure. Pleasure is an aspect of the total experience, and that aspect which gives value to the total experience. In saying that, one espouses a hedonist conception of pleasure. But one is bound to reject the conception of pleasure as a distinct sensation, something that might occur `neat'. Alternatively, one might think of pleasure as a determinable of which the various modalities of sensation can be determinates. Colour is real despite the fact that nothing is ever `simply coloured' ± that is, coloured without being red or green or blue, and so on. Analogously, the feeling of pleasure is real, despite the fact that there is no pleasure that isn't either olfactory, visual, auditory, and so on. Again, to acknowledge this does not in the least threaten a hedonistic construal of pleasure: what has value are all the particular pleasures we might experience. There is no such experience as `neat' pleasure, but, we might argue, the various pleasures we can experience are what have value, and the only things which have value. What has value is pleasurable experience; but pleasure is not a distinct sensation which might be detached from its particular context. Let me take this latter suggestion first. It is, I think, miscon-

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Pleasure and Emotion

ceived for a number of reasons. The suggestion that pleasure is a determinable of which the various modalities of sensation can be determinates is immediately brought into question by the indicated parallel with red as a determinate of colour. Red is, of course, necessarily a determinate of the determinable `colour'; nothing can be red without instantiating a property which is necessarily such a determinate. But no sensation is necessarily pleasurable.

The

olfactory

sensation

of

smelling

the

scent

of

hyacinths usually is pleasurable, but may cease to be, and may never be for some people. To suppose, then, that pleasure is a determinable

of

which

various

sensory

experiences

may

be

determinates is to suggest that some experience may be contingently a determinate of a determinable. This is not intelligible. Anything which is a determinate of a determinable is necessarily such a determinate:

`red'

is

necessarily

a

determinate

of

`coloured',

`square' of `shape', `2 lb.' of `weight', and so on. The idea that, say, some olfactory experience might be contingently a determinate of pleasure seems to me to make no sense. In fact, the contingency experience matter

of

and

which

the

connection

pleasure

the

forces

suggestion

between,

us

to

under

say,

accept

any

the

discussion

is

olfactory

view

of

designed

the to

avoid: the pleasure of the olfactory experience is a contingent

effect of the sensory experience. My criticism of a hedonistic construal of pleasure retains its force: if pleasure is thought of as the only thing which has value, then no particular cause of that experience has an essential value; all that is necessary is that the experience of pleasure be brought about by some means or other. It might be thought that the former suggestion, that pleasure is an aspect of a total experience in much the same way as colour or shape is a property of an object having other properties, is more promising for the hedonist. In particular, the analogy with colour seems more hopeful, for it seems to be a contingent matter, not simply that an object has the particular colour that it has, but also that it has a colour at all: that piece of glass which is tinted could have been colourless. Pursuing this parallel, we might think of pleasure as a property of a total experience which that experience contingently has. It is a property which gives value to the whole, but it is not separable from the total experience, even though it belongs to that experience contingently. But in fact the suggested parallel cannot hold. For even though,

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

in Hume's view, one can never have an impression of colour or shape

as

such,

since

these

are

not

distinct

objects,

one

can,

through `a distinction of reason', focus one's attention on the colour which may be common to two objects, or the shape common to a different pair of objects, independent of the other properties of these objects. But if the pleasure of the scent of the hyacinths is in anything like the same sort of way supposed to be an aspect of a total experience, it ought to be possible in one's imagination to set aside the scent itself and focus solely on the aspect of pleasure. It seems to me that this is not possible; there is nothing to focus on, and this suggests that the notion that pleasure is any sort of non-intentional state of feeling, or an aspect of some broader state of feeling, is mistaken. In addition, to suppose that pleasure is just one aspect of a total experience ignores what looks to be an obvious truth, which is that pleasure is a

result

of the

experience, or of attending to the experience; it is not itself a property of the experience along with the other properties of that experience. Once more, a hedonist view of pleasure is incapable of answering the central objection under discussion: if pleasure is the only thing having intrinsic value, how pleasure is caused is a matter of no consequence. There is one further possible way of preventing pleasure from becoming theoretically detachable from its particular cause which has appeared in the literature, and which needs looking at. It is the suggestion that it can make no sense to suppose that the very same pleasure which one derives from, say, listening to Schubert's `Du Bist die Ruh' might have been got from gardening or rambling. But that claim fails altogether to reveal a necessary connection between pleasure and its particular cause. Compare the suggestion about pleasure under discussion with the claim, made in the literature,

2

that simple reflection on the way we ordinarily talk

about causal relations shows that Hume's claim that there can only be a contingent connection between a cause and its effect is mistaken. For example, a scar is

necessarily the effect of a wound. If

a putative scar turns out to have been caused by something else, it isn't a scar. But Hume himself saw quite clearly what is wrong with this sort of suggestion. It is that what is revealed is not a necessary connection between objects or states of affairs in the world, but only a linguistic connection, or, in Hume's terminology, a relation between ideas. I take it to be the essence of Hume's

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Pleasure and Emotion position

on

causality

that

such

necessary

connections

as

may

appear can only be between concepts or ideas. That there is such a connection, then, does nothing to show that the connection between a particular sort of disfigurement and its cause is anything but contingent. The same conclusion is inescapable in relation to the example of the pleasure of listening to a Schubert song. We may decide not to call any pleasure not brought about by listening to that song the same pleasure. But that does nothing to show that there is any sort of necessary connection between a particular

pleasure

and

its

cause.

stands: if pleasure is thought of

The

objection

to

hedonism

as a non-intentional

state of

feeling, and getting this feeling provides the point of doing pretty well anything whatsoever, then any reliable cause of this feeling will do. Mill's distinction between higher and lower pleasures might be thought of as an attempt to resist this unpalatable conclusion: the pleasure of intellectual debate, or listening to good music, is intrinsically higher than that of gorging on junk food; its higher quality seems essentially connected to its source. But this, as I think is generally seen, is quite unsuccessful. Assuming freedom from unpleasant side-effects, if pleasure is what gives anything value, then the pleasure of any sensation is as good as the pleasure of listening to music, `the quantity of pleasure being the same'. Mill's distinction between the quantity and quality of pleasure is an unsuccessful attempt to ascribe to certain ends the value we know them to have, within a system which can only recognise their value as depending on the amount of pleasure with which they happen to find themselves connected as a result of what we might call the chance fall of hedonic confetti. And that chance distribution might be altered by some sort of scientific intervention.

Hedonistic Pleasure and our Experience of Music I think these considerations rule out the sort of hedonism for which Sidgwick argued and, more broadly, the idea that pleasure is a non-intentional state of feeling, whether that be some sort of sensation, or something less physical or bodily. But I also think, as I suggested above, that if we hold to the view that pleasure is a non-intentional state of feeling, we have no way of making sense

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

of music's power to express emotion. In almost every case, to respond to a musical expression of emotion is to experience pleasure. But if pleasure is a non-intentional state of feeling, it inevitably becomes the focus of attention, to the detriment of one's attention to the music as such. More fundamentally, if what music

causes

is

a

non-intentional

state

of

feeling

which

has

intrinsic value, then the music itself becomes theoretically dispensable. We know that this is false. Looking back at the two main approaches to the question of what it is for music to express emotion that I have been discussing, it

is

arguable

that

the

behavioural

resemblance

approach

is

untouched by a demonstration that the notion that pleasure is a non-intentional state of feeling is untenable. The `contour' view seems to be immune to this sort of objection, just as it appears to be

immune

to

the

`separable

experience'

objection,

and

for

basically the same reason. The `contour' view makes it clear that such feelings as are aroused by music are directed to the music: one admires, or is moved by, the music, for example. Such feelings are pleasurable. We have yet to decide what that means; it is not clear that the behavioural resemblance view need construe pleasure as a non-intentional state of feeling at all. Certainly, if it does, it will have lain itself open to the `separable experience' objection after all. One's admiration is certainly directed to the music, but if such admiration is thought of as resulting in a nonintentional feeling of pleasure then it is that which becomes the object of attention, and which, even more seriously, becomes a `separable experience', detachable from the music. The `contour' theorist had better arrive at a conception of the nature of pleasure quite

different

from

the

one

I

have

been

discussing

so

far.

However, the objections to the behavioural resemblance view or `contour' view I discussed earlier seem to me to be fatal to this approach, and arriving at an acceptable conception of the nature of pleasure will not save it. Moreover, a proper account of the nature of pleasure is, as I shall argue, essentially connected to a proper account of the nature of emotion itself, and once we have that we should see that the initial impulse to look for some sort of resemblance between musical and human expressive gesture as the basis for the ascription of emotional qualities to music was a misguided one. The standard emotivist position, as we saw, can provide no

Pleasure and Emotion

91

defence to the `separable experience' objection, and therefore cannot be saved by adopting a conception of pleasure which ties it necessarily to its object. Music, according to the standard emotivist

position,

arouses

non-intentional

states

of

feeling,

and

nothing can prevent these feelings from being `separable'. What view can the emotivist take of the nature of pleasure? And what is the object of the pleasure that music gives us? Let us consider the suggestion that it is the non-intentional feelings which music arouses which give pleasure. If we think of pleasure itself as a nonintentional feeling, we become even more removed from the music. The picture that is now presented to us is that music arouses non-intentional feelings, feelings which have no essential connection with the music and are `separable'. Further, these feelings cause a feeling of pleasure, which again has no necessary connection with its cause, and are thus detachable (`separable') from that cause, and which must themselves become a central object of attention. On the other hand, the emotivist might suggest that the feeling of pleasure is one of the non-intentional feelings which music arouses in the listener; it is the music itself which gives rise to this feeling, rather than, as I suggested above, the other feelings which the music causes. But this simply presents us with another feeling, along with the other non-intentional feelings that music produces, a feeling which, like the others, is merely contingently connected to the music. It is clear that operating with the conception of pleasure as a non-intentional feeling ± the conception which, I have argued, is inextricably

bound

up

with

hedonism

and

all

the

attendant

difficulties in that position ± can only deepen the problems of the two main approaches to the question of what it is for music to express emotion that I have been considering. There is, as I shall try to show, a much more satisfactory account of the nature of pleasure to be got. Adopting it, however, will be of no avail to either of the accounts of music's expressiveness under review. To adopt the preferred conception of pleasure which I shall try to develop can only make sense if it is coupled with the adoption of the nature of emotion wholly different from the `cognitivist' approach which underlies the current accounts of expression in music. This, I hope, will become clear as the argument proceeds.

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Pleasure as a Mode of Attention There appears to be fairly general agreement that what hedonistic conceptions of pleasure fail to take account of is that pleasure is an intentional notion, or, in Ryle's terminology, a heed concept.

3

Ryle's term is an unfortunate one, since it suggests that pleasure is a species of the deliberate focussing of attention onto an object, and that is certainly false. But it is certainly true that pleasure is a variety of attention to or awareness of an object, and is thus an intentional state of consciousness. The question, as Ryle saw, is: what are the distinctive characteristics of the form of `heed' which is pleasure? Ryle himself did very little in providing an answer to this question, but those who have adopted the general approach have tended to the view that it is the sort of judgement, evaluation or, perhaps, attitude which is central to pleasure. To experience fear is, at least, to judge that the object of one's attention poses a threat to one's well-being or even safety. To take pleasure in X, however, is, in the view of one writer, to exercise a kind of appraisive attention. More fully, pleasure is a form of `simple, non-comparative, positive appraisal'.

4

This sort of account seems

to provide us with a way of dealing with Sidgwick's concerns in a way which avoids any suggestion of hedonism. Sidgwick's central question, it will be remembered, is: would we value an end if it were not conducive to pleasure? The answer is, of course, that we would not, but that means only that if the end in question does not induce the attitude of positive appraisal or appreciation which is pleasure, it will of course seem valueless to us. That does not show that what has intrinsic value is a state of feeling called pleasure. On the contrary, what has value are all the various objects of pleasure. The hedonistic conclusion that the only thing which has intrinsic value is the feeling of pleasure simply does not follow from the fact that the absence of pleasure would lead one to deem some putative end or activity to be valueless. I think that the claim that pleasure is an

intentional

mode of

consciousness is right. It is worth remarking that it is this fact that lies behind the evident failure to sustain the suggestion, discussed briefly earlier, that pleasure might be considered an aspect of a total experience, in much the way that colour or shape is an aspect of an object. I said that what undermined this suggestion was the fact

that,

while,

as

Hume

emphasised,

one

can

focus

one's

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Pleasure and Emotion

attention on a property such as colour or shape, setting aside the object's other properties, one cannot take an experience such as that of smelling the scent of hyacinths, and concentrate solely on `the feeling of pleasure', setting aside the scent itself. Pleasure, I inferred,

could

not

be

regarded

as

an

aspect

of

some

total

experience, and the suggestion that it is that aspect which gives value to that total experience must therefore be abandoned. But now it is clearer why we cannot regard pleasure as an aspect, and why the suggested parallel between pleasure and properties such as colour will not stand examination. The fundamental reason why this won't do is that, if Ryle is right, pleasure is not what is attended to, since pleasure is itself a

mode of attention;

it is a way of

attending to whatever it is we take pleasure in. The view that pleasure is an intentional state of consciousness, and more particularly a sort of positive appraisal or evaluation, seems,

then,

conception

much

of

closer

pleasure

as

to a

the

sort

truth

of

than

the

hedonistic

quasi-sensation.

It

avoids

altogether the central problem with the hedonistic conception, the fact that this view has no way of demonstrating that the connection between pleasure and its cause is anything but contingent, and crucially rejects the claim that the feeling of pleasure, something not essentially connected with any particular cause, is the sole bearer of value. By contrast with this view, what is proposed is a conception of pleasure as an intentional state of consciousness, necessarily directed to an object. That, we are surely inclined to allow, must be on the right lines. There are, however, major problems with this sort of position. I have mentioned the view that what is distinctive about the sort of intentional attitude or variety of `heed' which is pleasure is that it is a sort of positive appraisal or evaluation. It is not clear how explicit the positive appraisal or evaluation is supposed to be on this account, but I don't think that it is crucial to decide this question. Any view which sees the essence of pleasure to be some sort

of

positive

evaluation,

however

implicit,

will

confront

problems which echo those we met in considering the nature of desire. For this view, if it is applicable to anything, is applicable only to the case where what we take pleasure in is ascribed a value independent of our pleasurable response; it is applicable, that is, to the parallel in the case of pleasure to what in the case of desire we called,

with

Schiffer,

`reason

following'

desire.

The

positive

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

evaluation or appraisal is our response to the objective value of the object of our attention. But in the case of reason

providing pleasure

there is no such objective value. The value we ascribe to the object of attention is a reflection of the fact that we take pleasure in it. Since pleasure thus provides the grounds of value, it cannot be construed as at the same time a recognition of value. It makes no sense to claim both that the only reason we have for engaging in ù-ing is that ù-ing gives us pleasure, and also that our taking pleasure in ù-ing is an appreciation of the value of ù-ing. Equally fundamentally, this sort of account of pleasure seems to make it very difficult to allow for the fact that pleasure is a state of

feeling.

The conception of pleasure as a sort of positive appraisal

does not seem to entail that pleasure is an affective state at all. Appraisal or evaluation may surely occur without any affective dimension or aspect. A view which does not make clear that pleasure is

essentially

an affective state must be seriously askew.

The most that the conception of pleasure as a sort of positive appraisal would seem to allow is that feeling is a sort of affective gloss, something that might be cleaned off to reveal the underlying appraisal or evaluation, pure and affectless. This, of course, is exactly the same difficulty as one which emerged in considering the nature of reason-providing desire. But what, we must ask, could such a judgement, evaluation, or `appraisal', be? Where the object of attention is taken to have objective value (in the sense I outlined earlier), the question is immediately

answered.

But

in

the

case

where

the

object

of

attention is taken not to have such a value ± where, that is, the value of the object of attention lies in the fact that one takes pleasure in it ± it is impossible to see what such a pure, affectless judgement or evaluation could be. As in the parallel case of r-p desire, the only suggestions to hand are that we have an absolutely groundless choice, a sort of radical and totally unmotivated choice of value, or that there is simply a behavioural disposition to seek out or prolong the object of attention. Neither of these suggestions is remotely plausible. I have suggested that the construal of pleasure as a sort of positive appraisal faces exactly the same problems as confronted the conception of desire as a variety of evaluative judgement. However, there is a further problem for the `appraisal' view of pleasure which is not simply an instance of the sort of problem

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Pleasure and Emotion

already encountered in considering the case of basic r-p desires, and it is a serious one. The problem is not simply that on the `appraisal'

view

something

that

the

affective

might

be

dimension

dispensed

becomes

with,

but

incidental,

that

it

looks

impossible to make any sense of pleasure as a feeling at all on this view. Let us see how this problem arises. If pleasure is some mode of attention, heed, evaluation, or whatever, to which is added some, apparently dispensable, level of feeling, the question arises: is the sort of feeling which attaches to the basic appraisal itself pleasant, or is it unpleasant? This is surely a question one can ask of any sensation, or non-intentional feeling. Now it would certainly be odd to suggest that the feeling which is produced, or attaches to, the purely intentional level of attention is unpleasant, though it is not easy to see what could rule this out. Let us, therefore, assume that the attached feeling is itself pleasant. We must remind ourselves at this point that what it is for anything to be pleasant on the `appraisal' view is for it to be the object of a positive evaluation, or attitude. Hence, if the feeling attaching to a basic pleasure-attitude is itself pleasant, it also must be the object of a positive appraisal. This seems to entail that to take pleasure in (say) a piece of music will involve two acts of positive appraisal: my taking pleasure in the music is a matter of some positive appraisal of the music, an act which produces certain feelings which are themselves positively appraised. The question then arises, of course, as to whether this latter appraisal produces, or is characterised by, further feelings. There is clearly a threat of an infinite regress here, but even if we disregard that aspect of the question, a view which entails, as I think the `appraisal' view does, that to take pleasure in anything involves at least two acts of appraisal, one of the object of pleasure and another of the feeling resulting from the primary act of appraisal, is highly implausible.

A Resolution of the Conflicting Positions The

upshot

approaches

of to

the the

discussion nature

of

so

far

pleasure

is

that

we

neither

have

of

the

examined

is

satisfactory. One approach, epitomised by Sidgwick, is hedonism. It is an approach which acknowledges the central importance of pleasure as a feeling, but misconstrues pleasure as the object of desire ± as the only thing which is intrinsically or ultimately

96

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

desirable. That position, as we saw, is quite untenable. The other position is one which has developed from Ryle's treatment of the topic, and which sees pleasure as a form of `heed' a `pro-attitude' or `positive appraisal'. Though there is something right about this position, and indeed something important, it leaves us without any understanding of how pleasure as a state of feeling motivates and serves as the ground of value, or indeed any way of accepting pleasure as a state of feeling at all. The failure to grasp the importance of pleasure as a state of feeling also shows itself in what looks on the surface to be a plausible attempt to analyse the notion of enjoying as a state of desire. That attempt has been made by Richard Warner, who suggests that coming to enjoy an activity is a matter of coming, under some it

for

its

appropriate

own

sake.

5

conception

Warner

gives

of an

the

activity,

example

of

to

desire

someone

who initially was repelled by their first experience of deep-sea fishing, but came in time to have a different view of it, and thus to desire to engage in it for its own sake ± to enjoy it, in fact. One trouble with this account is that it applies equally to states of affairs which it is plausible to assume involve no pleasure at all. Thus, the business of visiting an aged parent in a geriatric hospital may at first seem distressing, embarrassing and disgusting, but, seeing that one's visits bring some sort of light into the life of the patient, one comes to look on it as something worth doing for its own sake and to desire to do it for that reason. Neither one's coming to think of one's visits as worth making for their own sake, nor one's consequent desire to make them imply that one experienced any state of feeling, and it seems pretty obvious that to say that one actually enjoyed making these visits is almost certainly false. Another problem with this account is that it fails to take notice of the important distinction between reason-providing and reason-following desire, and of the corresponding distinction in the case of pleasure. Warner's example clearly belongs in the category of reason-

providing desire and pleasure: the only reason one has for

engaging in deep-sea fishing is that one has come to desire to engage in it, and to take pleasure in it. To construe such a case of enjoyment as simply a matter of one's making, or coming to make, a certain sort of positive appraisal, or to come to have a certain `pro-attitude' to the activity in question, is to offer an

Pleasure and Emotion

97

feeling

for r-p

account in which the essential role of intentional

desire and pleasure is ignored. I come to a positive appraisal, or to have a `pro-attitude', to visiting my elderly relative; I come to see these visits as something I ought to undertake, that I have a duty to make. But I don't in anything like this way come to have a `pro-attitude' to deep-sea fishing. That is, I don't come to see it as something I ought to engage in, or as my duty. I come to be

attracted by

and

drawn to

that activity. I could talk of my coming to

a pro-attitude to the activity, but such an attitude could not be a matter of cool, groundless approval. And since the account thus seems to ignore the crucial role of feeling, it fails to bring out what exactly is involved in ascribing value to ends which lack objective value, in the sense I have indicated earlier. However, as I shall argue very shortly, the notion of pleasure as a form of desire embodies a crucial truth, which I shall try to make clear. It seems to me that the upshot of the discussion is that the analysis of pleasure must resemble that of r-p, or warm, desire very closely, and that feeling has precisely the importance it has in the case of r-p desire. That is to say, feeling is not to be construed as some sort of non-intentional state added to judgement or attitude, but as feeling towards, or intentional feeling. Pleasure, like warm (`r-p') desire, is an intentional/affective state of consciousness. This suggestion may be disputed. There is, it might be claimed, a crucial difference between the case of r-p desire and that of pleasure, a difference which seems to indicate that pleasure is after all the object of desire. We may desire, even warmly desire, a certain end, but, as Sidgwick reminds us, if the achievement of that end does not bring pleasure then it will seem valueless. On the other hand, the fact that something results in pleasure gives it value whether or not that end was desired. This point surely forces

a

revision

of

the

account

of

reason-providing

desire

discussed earlier. This was characterised as desire which is such that the sole reason for pursuing the object of desire is simply that one desires it, such that a world in which one does not have such a desire to ù is a world in which one has no reason to ù. But now it appears that this cannot be quite right. A world in which, though one has the desire to ù, one finds that ù-ing results in no pleasure is such that the impression that one had a reason to ù turns out to be groundless. And a world in which the experience of ù-ing brings pleasure even though one did not desire to ù is a world in

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

which, even though one did not desire to ù, one nevertheless had reason to ù. Pleasure, then, seems to be the ground of value in a way in which desire cannot be. How is this truth to be accommodated and hedonism avoided? Let us, first of all, emphasise again that hedonism is not a tenable position. The apparent difference between the case of r-p desire

and

that

of

pleasure

must,

therefore,

be

explained

in

another way. The solution to the problem lies, I think, in taking seriously the suggestion that pleasure is itself a form of desire. It is a desire, however temporary, for the continuation of the present experience. It is therefore desire which is in part coincident with its own satisfaction. It is, more precisely, warm desire which is in part coincident with its own satisfaction. Pleasure is a state of feeling, as is warm r-p desire, but it is no more an object of desire than is desire itself. It is a state of intentional feeling, a variety of feeling towards. I have no reason to ù if, when ù-ing, the desire to ù ceases ± that is, if ù-ing brings no pleasure. But I do have reason to ù if, albeit unknown to me, the experience of ù-ing would bring a desire to continue ù-ing, a desire coincident with its own satisfaction. This construal of pleasure as a form of desire, more specifically as desire which is in part coincident with its own satisfaction,

allows

us

to acknowledge the special

role

which

pleasure plays in the realm of value without surrendering to the hedonist misconception of pleasure.

The Analysis of Pleasure and Music's Expression of Emotion How does this conception of pleasure as a variety of intentional feeling impinge on the topic of what it is for music to express emotion? As I have already hinted, the standard emotivist view cannot be saved by the adoption of this view; indeed, coming to the view of pleasure which we have just developed only serves to highlight the flaws in the standard emotivism. Since this standard view holds that music arouses non-intentional feelings, feelings which, I have argued, are not essentially connected to the music, the object of pleasure can only be those feelings: they are what we take pleasure in. Further, the different levels of attention which are evidently now involved in the standard emotivist view present a hopelessly complex picture. The position which an emotivist

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Pleasure and Emotion

who accepts the analysis of pleasure I have just sketched seems to be committed to is as follows: we begin with an intentional state of consciousness: attention to the music. This produces a intentional

state

of

consciousness:

the

feeling(s)

arouses. This in its turn provokes a further

which

intentional

non-

music

state of

consciousness, the feeling of pleasure. One fundamental criticism of all this is that the `heresy of the separable experience' still confronts

the

emotivist;

neither

the

non-intentional

feelings

which music arouses, nor one's pleasure in them, is essentially connected

to

the

music.

But

further

than

that,

it

is

surely

impossible to accept that our response to music could involve such a complexity of conscious states. How, one must ask, can one

experience

the

posited

non-intentional

states

of

feeling

without their becoming the object of attention? And how can they continue in existence if one no longer pays attention to the music which produces them? How, again, can one's pleasure in the music be anything but fleeting and transitory if the object of this pleasure, the feelings produced by the music, must fade as one's

attention

is

diverted

from

the

music

to

the

attendant

feelings? The lesson to be drawn is that the object of pleasure is not the non-intentional feelings supposedly aroused by listening to music, but the music itself. Further, the emotions aroused by music also, of course, have as their object the music itself. The final point to be made is that the emotional response on the one hand and the response of pleasure on the other are not two distinct varieties of intentional response. The emotional response is itself a variety of pleasurable (or displeasurable) response. The behavioural resemblance or `contour' view might seem better able to accommodate a correct view of the nature of pleasure. We saw earlier that this view did not seem to be open to the `separable experience' objection, since the emotions which music provokes are such states as admiration, rather than `gardenvariety' emotions, and the former are always directed to the music. Equally, the pleasure we experience is always directed to the music; it is not directed, as in the case of the arousal theory, to feelings which have only a contingent connection with the music. Nevertheless, the behavioural resemblance view won't do, as I have already argued. The claim that the expressivenes of music lies in musical gestures resembling or picturing human expressive

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

behaviour cannot be sustained. What is more, although the view might seem able to accommodate an acceptable view of the nature of pleasure with more ease than can the arousalist position, in fact the conception of pleasure with which the contour view must operate is a very simplistic one. If we are moved by, or take pleasure in, only the beautiful way in which certain pieces of music capture certain emotions, then we would be moved in the same way by (or take the same pleasure in) `(great) cheerful and sad music, in the same way by the overture to

The Barber of Seville

and by the slow movement of Mahler's Fifth Symphony'.

6

But

the idea that our emotional response to music consists only in a sort of uniform pleasure, a `being moved by', is clearly false to our

The Barber of Seville Adagietto

experience. Our response to the overture to different from our response to the Mahler the

pleasurable

joix de vivre

that

is

is

. That is to say,

aroused

by

the

former

is

different from the pleasurable luxurious yearning of the other. We experience different varieties of pleasure, of positive feelingtowards.

The

notion

that

pleasure

is

an

absolutely

uniform

experience, differing only with regard to its various objects, is a distortion of our experience. I have discussed the notion of pleasure at some length for two reasons. First, because getting a proper account of the nature of pleasure is part and parcel of the enterprise of getting a proper account of the nature of emotion, and it seems clear that a range of unsatisfactory accounts of music's expression of emotion proceeds from an approach to the nature of emotion which is inadequate. Second, and more narrowly, because the fact that music expresses emotions which are themselves varieties of pleasure (or pain) again

requires

an

acceptable

view

of

the

nature

of

pleasure.

Neither the view of pleasure as a non-intentional state of feeling, a sort of quasi-sensation, nor as a sort of positive evaluation with a dispensable affective gloss will do. The former won't do, since on that view pleasure becomes the object of attention, and the music is no longer the prime focus of awareness, and indeed becomes dispensable. The latter won't do either, though why it will not do may not be so clear. One might think that it fits easily into the sort of view of the expressive powers of music that I am advocating to claim that

what I take pleasure in, that is, what I positively

evaluate, is the skilful way by which the music in question evokes certain

emotions.

But

to

suggest

this

is

to

suggest

that

our

Pleasure and Emotion

101

attention is deeply divided. One level of attention is the emotional attitude evoked by the music, leading the listener to, for example, desire the resolution of the dissonant chord, or to delight in the desired-for resolution. The mode of attention which is pleasure has a different object. While the desire which is evoked by the music has as its object the resolution of the discord, the pleasure has as its object something else entirely: the skill by which the music evokes this desire. I cannot think that our awareness of music conceals this division in our attention. Furthermore, on this view pleasure is only contingently a state of feeling. To have some sort of positive attitude to a state of affairs, such as the skill by which music evokes a certain desire, does not in itself seem to require that that positive attitude be a state of feeling. The only possible view of the matter is as follows. The desire that is evoked by the music for the resolution of tension is a desire which is a state of pleasurable anticipation of an outcome. The pleasure is an aspect of the desire, just as much as it is of the joy at having reached that moment of resolution. The pleasure, like the desire, is therefore a state which is essentially one of feeling towards, or intentional feeling.

The Indispensability of the Notion of Intentional Feeling Let me now try again to explain how the notion of feeling towards makes sense of motivation and of value. The crucial claim I have tried to sustain is that we can distinguish, in the case both of desire and of pleasure, a reason-providing form of these states of consciousness. The distinguishing characteristic of this state is that the value of its objects is seen to be dependent on our having an instance of this state; a world in which one lacks the desire to ù, or takes no pleasure in ù-ing, is a world in which ù-ing would have no value for one, a world in which one has no reason to ù. I have claimed that reference to feeling makes sense of motivation and value in this sort of case, but not because we think of some state of feeling as the end of r-p desires, or as what is enjoyed when we take pleasure in something; rather, the value of the various objects of r-p desire and pleasure is explained by the fact that we feel towards them in that special way which is desiring or taking pleasure in them. It is, of course, contingent that we have this

102

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

attitude to the objects to which they are directed, but it is essential to recognise that the attitude is an affective one. Once again, it cannot be a matter of a cool recognition of objective value, since in

the

cases

attention

under

rests

on

consideration their

being

the

the

value

object

of

of

the

the

objects

of

attitudes

in

question. Nor can it be a straight decision to pursue such objects, since such a choice would be no more than a groundless whim. Neither, finally, can reference to these attitudes be cashed out as reference

to

a

mere

behavioural

propensity

or

disposition;

a

statement such as `I strongly desired/longed for/was immensely attracted by X' cannot be translated as `I had the behavioural propensity to move towards X', or anything of the sort. It follows, of course, that we could not make sense of the idea that the affective aspect might be cleaned off, leaving a pure affectless judgement or attitude. Moreover, only the acceptance of the notion of intentional feeling allows us to make sense of a crucial aspect of our experience: however we may come to choose between them, or order them in a scale of preference, we are initially

passive

in relation to our desire and emotions. The very

operation of choosing between various desires, or ordering them in a scale of rational preference, presupposes that the desires themselves are not a matter of choice. They, at least initially, are states we find ourselves to have. We are drawn, more or less strongly, to an object

of desire.

What we have to decide is

whether to allow that desire to determine our will. And, to repeat, it is absurd to suggest that what we find ourselves with is a mere behavioural disposition; we find ourselves with a state of consciousness which can grow or decline in intensity.

Reason-following Desire, and Taking Pleasure in what has Objective Value I have argued that reason-providing desire and pleasure must be construed as varieties of feeling towards, as intentional/affective states of consciousness. I have rejected the possibility of cleaning off the affective aspect of these states to leave a pure intentional state of consciousness, such as an affectless judgement or `proattitude'. However, the situation might seem to be different with respect to reason-following desire, and in the case of taking pleasure in what is deemed to have objective value. The possible difference

103

Pleasure and Emotion

lies in the fact that, with regard to this form of desire at least, it is indeed possible to think of purely affectless varieties of these states of consciousness. One may desire to do one's duty, but this desire does not seem to be essentially an affective one. Of course, one may feel warmly about doing one's duty, but more commonly one may simply coolly desire to do one's duty; any affective overlay is dispensable. Similarly, one may take pleasure in doing one's duty, but again one can conceive of this affective state being cleaned off to leave the affectless judgement that what one is doing has value for its own sake. In this latter case, of course, it could not be said that one was taking pleasure in doing one's duty, though one still desires so to do. This feature of this form of desire might lead one to suppose that both reason-following desire and taking pleasure in what has objective value are quite different from reason-providing desire and from taking pleasure in what seems not to have objective value. While the latter is an indivisibly intentional/affective state of consciousness, a state of feeling towards, the former looks to be forms of judgement or attitude which may or may not cause a state of feeling. This, of course, is precisely the sort of analysis offered of emotion by standard

cognitivist

or

judgementalist

accounts;

and

it

is

an

account that I have rejected. But the suggestion that the two varieties of desire, reason providing and reason following, are so very different in their nature is utterly incredible. It cannot be the case that while the feeling which obtains in the latter sort of desire is a form of feeling towards, an intentional mode of affect, that which obtains in the former

is

a

non-intentional,

quasi-sensational

sort

Rather, where reason-following desire is a state

of

feeling.

of affect,

it,

too, must be a form of feeling towards. One obvious reason for this claim is that, as I have argued earlier, the standard judgementalist analysis of emotion suffers from a central flaw, a flaw which must undermine the suggestion that any affective sort of desire is to be construed along the same lines. It is, I have claimed, not possible to accept that the feeling which is posited in the analysis of emotion appears as the effect of some sort of judgement or evaluation, a judgement which must, in terms of the analysis, be itself intrinsically quite cool, no more a state of feeling in itself than the judgement `the cat is on the mat'. The conception of some intrinsically affectless class of judgements having a myster-

104

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

ious and wholly inexplicable power to produce states of feeling is one that must be rejected. If this point is correct, then any attempt to

construe

reason-following

desire,

and

the

case

of

taking

pleasure in what is seen to have objective value, after the model provided

by

the

judgementalist

analysis

of

emotion

must

be

rejected. The correct account of reason-following desire, and also of what it is to take pleasure in an end deemed to have objective value, is one that accepts that these varieties of the states of consciousness in question must have the same essential nature as their reason-providing counterparts. If the one sort is necessarily an intentional feeling, a state of feeling towards, then so is the other. The proper account of such desire is that when it is a state of feeling, it is a state of feeling towards its object. Its object is something deemed to have a value independent of one's desire for it, and since that is so, it may be the object of a desire which is quite cool, but in so far as it is the object of a desire which is a state of affect, it is the object of a state of intentional feeling, just as surely as are the objects of reason-providing desire.

Notes 1.

H. Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics (London: Macmillan, 1963), Bk 3, Ch.

2.

See W. H. Walsh, Metaphysics (London: Hutchinson University Library,

3.

G. Ryle, `Pleasure', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary

4.

See W. B. Gallie, `Pleasure', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supple-

5.

R. Warner, `Enjoyment', Philosophical Review, 1980.

6.

A. Goldman, `Emotions in Music (A Postscript)', Journal of Aesthetics and

14.

1963), ch. 4.

Volume, 1954.

mentary Volume, 1954.

Art Criticism, 1995, p. 63.

Chapter Seven

The Nature of Emotion

The account I have tried to develop of the nature of desire and of pleasure in my view rules out the possibility that, in relation to these

states,

evaluation

feeling

or

arises

conscious

as

the

attitude.

effect But

of

the

some

standard

judgement, cognitivist

analyses of emotion view feeling precisely in this way: it is the effect of emotion-judgement or evaluation. There is, however, every reason to reject this sort of analysis of emotion. The total inexplicability of these posited feelings, arising, as is supposed, from a sub-section of intrinsically cool judgements, remains one reason. But an equally important consideration is this: if this sort of analysis is quite untenable for desire and for pleasure, it cannot possibly be the right sort of analysis of emotion. The reason for this is simply that emotion cannot be something quite separate from desire and/or pleasure or pain. Many emotions

are varieties

of desire; yearning and longing are obvious examples. Many emotions clearly involve desire as a major part of their total nature; fear and remorse are clear examples. Many emotions are varieties of pleasure: elation and joy, for example. And many emotions clearly embrace pleasure as part of their nature: pride and admiration are clear examples. A

supporter

of

the

cognitivist

account

of

emotion

might

conceivably insist that, whether the offered analysis of r-p desire and pleasure is correct or not, the nature of emotion must be fundamentally different from that of r-p desire. For, while it may be the case that there can be no such thing as cleaning off the affective

aspect

from

an

r-p

desire

to

leave

a

pure

affectless

judgement, it seems obvious that just this is possible in the case of emotion. It has often been pointed out by advocates of the standard

cognitivist

105

view

of

emotion

that

the

judgement

or

106

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

evaluation at the heart of any emotion may be made quite coolly. Thus, while the judgement `I was wrong to do that' would be expected to be attended by feelings characteristic of remorse, the identical judgement might be made without leading to, or being characterised by, any feeling at all. This fact, it might be argued, counts against the assimilation of emotion to the model suggested by the analysis of r-p desire and pleasure, and in fact lends support to the standard cognitivist analysis of emotion. To be forced to accept so huge a difference between emotion and states of consciousness so intimately involved in emotion as desire and pleasure would be an extraordinary and intolerable outcome. In fact, the correct reading of emotion parallels what was said in the previous chapter about reason following desire, and about pleasure in what has objective value. With regard to these, I claimed that the objects of these states can be contemplated

coolly:

an

object

of

reason

following

desire

might

be

something quite coolly desired, or something coolly judged to have intrinsic or objective value; but it might alternatively be the object of a warm desire, or a state of pleasure. These, I claimed, are intentional/affective states, or states of feeling towards. They are not non-intentional states of feeling brought about by contemplating the object or entertaining a judgement about it. Precisely the same is true of emotion. What we need to be clear about,

however,

is

what

the

object

of

a

typical

emotion

is.

Consider the emotion of remorse. If this is a state of feeling, it is a state of intentional feeling, and the object of that feeling is the evaluatively characterised state of affairs: `what I did was very wrong'. The wrongness of one's action is what obsesses one, and it is this which is the object of one's attention. One feels towards it with pain, and one longs to be able to make some recompense. The `cognitivist' view that feeling is the result of entertaining an evaluation is totally mistaken. Views of this sort quite misconstrue the place of judgement or evaluation in the analysis of emotion. To repeat: the cognitivist view that emotions are varieties of judgement, belief, evaluation or attitude which cause states of feeling misplaces judgement as the cause of feeling, while on the view for which I am arguing it is states of affairs or situations characterised

in

a

certain

way,

or

as

the

object

of

a

certain

judgement, which are to be seen as the object of feeling. The point I have just made is crucially important, both to the

The Nature of Emotion

107

analysis of emotion and also to a proper account of what it is for music

to

express

emotion.

The

standard

analysis

of

emotion

misconstrues entirely the place of judgement or evaluation in the analysis of emotion. It claims that emotions consist of the entertaining of judgements, evaluations and beliefs, an entertaining which standardly (and magically) causes various states of nonintentional feeling. For all the reasons I have been discussing, this cannot be right. The correct view, I have just suggested, is not that evaluative judgements cause certain feelings, but that the contents of such judgements are typically the object of intentional feeling. The only philosopher I know of who has taken much the same position is Patricia Greenspan, though there are aspects of her position which I would question. Greenspan talks of emotion as having both an internal and an external object.

1

The internal

object is provided by the content of the proposition, say, that the X is dangerous. It is this thought which is the object of intentional feeling or affect. This proposition in its turn has an object, the state of affairs or object which the proposition is about. Since emotions have both an internal and an external object, emotion in fact embraces two layers of intentionality. I

am

slightly

uneasy

about

this

two-layers-of-intentionality

view. Let's say that the initial object of attention must be the external object: the fire, or whatever. What looks awkward is the idea that this is one thing to which one's attention is directed, but that one's attention is also directed to something else: a proposition, or some equivalent mental entity. This seems to be positing a division in one's attention, whereas it is surely the case that in the experience of, say, intense fear one's attention is not divided, but directed to, indeed riveted on, the one object. I prefer to say something like the following. The object or state of affairs in the world must be the initial object of attention: one is aware of the fire, say, or the tree falling in one's direction. The next stage is that one comes to think of the fire or the tree as dangerous, and it is the object as so characterised that is the object of intentional feeling. I don't think that at any stage one has

two

intentional states or

two

intentional objects. The other aspect of Greenspan's position that I find troublesome is her view that intentional affect is always a form of comfort or discomfort. The implication of this view is that what motivates

108

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

one is the desire to remove the discomfort or increase or sustain the comfort. This does indeed seem to be her view, for she talks of altruistic feeling as being essentially self-regarding, as if one's own comfort or discomfort is always the ultimate concern. I think the characterisation of intentional affect as varieties of comfort of discomfort is a mistake.

2

Nevertheless, as I have said, Greenspan is, as far as I know, the only writer on this subject who has argued that the notion of intentional feeling or affect directed to the content of an evaluative proposition should replace the `judgementalist' conception of emotion as comprising evaluative judgements or beliefs together with some sort of intrinsically incidental affective result or overlay.

3

Our reasons for coming to this position are different,

but the view of the matter which we seem to share is dictated by a whole host of considerations. I have claimed that a typical object of emotion is a state of affairs as evaluatively characterised. But this is only one of a range of possible objects of emotion. Very often, as Greenspan points out, one may be afraid of something even though one would reject the proposition that it is dangerous ± toothless old Fido, for example. David Hamlyn also points out that one may love someone even though one's cool evaluation of that person is that he or she is pretty worthless.

4

One may also yearn for something and, as I

have argued, one's evaluation of it as good is consequent upon one's desire or yearning; the same point applies to cases of taking delight in something, where again the evaluation one comes to waits on one's delight. There is, then, a whole range of different objects and states of affairs which can serve as objects of emotions, and it is a mistake of the cognitivist approach to see evaluative belief as the indispensable core of emotion. It is, of course, equally a mistake to misconstrue the place of evaluative judgement, where it is a feature of an emotion, in the way that the cognitivist does, as that which results in feeling. Emotions, then, may take a whole range of different objects. Among these objects are musical events, as I have been at pains to argue. One may, for example, desire, or even yearn for, a musical outcome in just as full-blooded a way as one desires or longs for an apple, a drink, or whatever. In neither case does the experience of emotion involve entertaining an evaluative proposition. All one need say is that the experience of both involves one's having some

The Nature of Emotion

109

sort of conception of its object. All emotions, Brentano says, are varieties of love or hate ± or, one must add, of mixtures of these two modes of intentional feeling. Any mixture of these intentional states may be directed to a whole range of objects from evaluatively characterised states of affairs on the one hand to musical states and events on the other. A possible source of misunderstanding must be cleared up. It would, of course, be foolish to deny that bodily feelings, sometimes quite violent ones, are caused by intentional states. But it would be a mistake to suppose that this fact about our experience offers any support for the judgementalist view of emotion. It can lend no credence to the view that emotions are intrinsically cool evaluations which cause bodily feelings. What it does acknowledge is that bodily feelings can be produced by powerful emotion ± that is, when consciousness is `emotionalised', and manifests itself as a state of feeling towards, or intentional feeling. On my view, the object of such intentional feeling is often an evaluatively characterised state of affairs: the wrongness of one's action, for example, or the danger that confronts one. When this intentional feeling is sufficiently strong, it can cause bodily sensations of various sorts. But, while emotion can indeed bring about sensations, to talk of emotion as a state of feeling is not to talk of its propensity to cause sensations; it is to talk of it as a state of feeling towards.

Moreover,

in

any

violent

emotion

which

produces

bodily sensations, while one is certainly aware of the emotion, one tends not to be aware of the bodily sensations themselves at the time, simply because one's attention is riveted onto the object of one's emotion. Although my views on the nature of mind are in general remote from those I take Wittgenstein to hold, Wittgenstein did in fact make several perceptive remarks on the inadmissibility of the suggestion that to talk of, say, fear as a horrible experience is to talk of certain sensations. At one point he says: ` ``Horrible fear'': is it the

sensations

which are so horrible?'

5

And elsewhere he asks:

What is so frightful about fear? The trembling, the quick breathing, the feeling in the facial muscles? When you say: `This fear, this uncertainty, is frightful!' ± might you go on `If only I didn't have this feeling in my stomach!? When anxiety is frightful, and when in anxiety I am conscious of my breathing and of a tension in the muscles of my face ± does that

110

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

mean that I find alleviation?

these feelings

frightful?' Might they not even signify an

6

Of course sensations occur, and they can be more or less intense or violent; but they are not the feelings we refer to as horrible or more or less intense. In fact it is not true without qualification that any emotionjudgement might be entertained quite coolly. Clearly, longing, yearning, disgust, joy and elation are emotions. They may be felt towards states of affairs whose value, or disvalue, is a matter of our reaction to them, just as they may be felt towards objects deemed to have objective value. In the former case the judgement we entertain cannot be always free of affect. As in the case of reasonproviding desire, the affectless judgement or attitude is parasitic on the fully affective variety. Examples

of

unconscious

emotion

are

sometimes

brought

forward by those who attempt to belittle the role of feeling in the analysis of emotion. A reviewer of a recent book on emotion points

out

that

noticing

that

one's

hands

are

gripping

one's

briefcase with unwarranted pressure may lead one to conclude that one is anxious, though one certainly did not feel anxious before this point, and may nor may not begin to feel anxious thereafter. This sort of case, the writer claims. shows that `feelings are not a promising place to centre a theory of emotions'. However,

to

have

recourse

to

the

notion

of

unconscious

emotion in this way is to attempt to prove that feeling is not essential to being emotion because being a conscious state of any kind is not so essential. There is, I submit, no hope for such a thesis. It amounts to the claim that a strictly behavourist analysis of emotion is possible, and a number of considerations rule this out. First, there are emotions which are essentially conscious states; there can be no such thing as unconscious rage or elation, for example. Second, and more fundamentally, to suppose that there is some broad pattern of behaviour which every instance of, say, being remorseful, indignant or fearful must instantiate is fairly obviously mistaken. The only thing which unifies all the particular manifestations of remorse or indignation is that they are all possible expressions of the same state of consciousnes. Third, it seems just as obvious that to talk of unconscious emotion makes sense only if we see the unconscious case to be parasitic on the

The Nature of Emotion

111

standard case in which emotion is (at least) a state of consciousness. One's envy or anger is suppressed, so that it is no longer a fully conscious state. There are, of course, cases where a state of consciousness is picked out through the use of an emotion-word, but where there is no real suggestion that what is being talked of is a state of feeling. One might, for example, say that one was anxious that the person one considers the best qualified should get the job. This sort of expression does not normally imply that one is in a state of felt anxiety. It certainly implies that one wants the best-qualified candidate to succeed, but this in turn might imply no more than one thinks that a certain person ought to be offered the post; and this does not imply that there was an affective aspect to one's thought at all. But for the reasons that I have tried to make clear, it is impossible to construe emotion in general in this way. The link between emotion on the one hand and r-p desire and pleasure on the other, both states of consciousness which are have an essential affective dimension, makes the suggestion that feeling is incidental to emotion a non-starter. But even an unrepentant advocate of the judgementalist view of emotion should avoid recourse to the notion of unconscious emotion. It cannot be merely contingently the case that most tokens of emotion are events in consciousness.

The Relation between the Affective and the Intentional Components of Emotion I want now to discuss a problem in the theory of emotion, one which,

to

my

knowledge,

has

been

discussed

by

only

one

philosopher. In spite of the failure of nearly every proponent of the standard cognitivist approach to emotion to touch on this issue, it seems to me a serious problem for this sort of approach. The issue is this: given that emotions have both an intentional and an affective aspect, is the link between these two aspects merely a contingent one, or is it in some sense necessary? To take a particular example: grief is an emotion in which one is disposed to hold certain evaluative beliefs or judgements about the loss of a loved one; and it is also an emotion characterised by intense feeling. Is the connection between the distinctive sort of judgement and the distinctive quality of feeling a necessary one? Or is there a possible world in which judgements characteristic of grief

112

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

are accompanied by feelings which in our world are characteristic of elation? Such seemed to have been Hume's view. For him, the link between the `passion' of pride and thoughts about the self is contingent, something `given in the original constitution of the mind', but not a necessary connection. As `distinct existences', thought and feeling are bound to be no more than contingently connected in the Humean scheme of things.

7

The suggestion that there is such a possible world seems to me wholly

bizarre,

and,

I

shall

argue,

it

is

another

fundamental

criticism of the standard view of emotion that it has no way of blocking it. On the standard view, emotions are conjunctions of particular sorts of evaluations and particular states of feeling. I think there is no escape from the implication that it is merely contingent that in any instance of emotion the particular conjuncts ± the judgement, and the feeling ± are conjoined. There is, then a possible world in which grief-evaluations are accompanied by feelings characteristic of elation. One response which might be given by a thorough-going proponent of the standard view is to claim that the problem does not exist, since purely as feeling there is no essential difference between one emotion and another. The feelings are the sensations produced by evaluative judgements, and our classification of these as feelings is very coarse-grained. The same bodily sensations may be produced by widely differing emotions: the thumping of the heart caused by intense fear could also be produced by suddenly falling in love. There is no purely affective difference between these two emotions; there is, therefore, no such problem as the one outlined. But this suggestion is pretty hopeless. The most it could show is that the bodily feelings produced by two contrasting emotions of roughly equal intensity or violence may well be indistinguishable. But this would hardly show that there is no distinction to be made between the feelings characteristic of, for example, mild depression on the one hand and a more violent emotion such as elation on the other. I repeat that we cannot easily accept the notion of a possible world in which feelings characteristic of depression are linked to the sorts of judgements by which one expresses elation, not even with respect to the bodily sensations which are normally aroused by these two emotions. This point, of course, highlights a central flaw in the standard

The Nature of Emotion

113

cognitivist view of emotion. If the emotional feelings are nonintentional bodily sensations, then the connection between them and the judgements or evaluations taken to be central to the various emotions is a contingent one, and there is no way of blocking the possibility entertained above. But further than that, it is clear that the bodily sensations aroused in two contrasting but equally intense or violent emotions may well be very similar ± the violent bodily perturbation experienced in a spasm of fear may also be experienced in suddenly falling on love ± but our ordinary understanding is that the two emotions differ as states of feeling, and that it is absurd to suggest that there is a possible world in which the feeling characteristic of fear might be experienced linked to the attitude or evaluation central to at least some cases of being on love. There are, of course, other fundamental reasons for rejecting the idea that intrinsically affectless judgements could cause varieties of bodily sensation which I have outlined above. Here I simply want to emphasise the commonsense point that being depressed or angry differs from being elated as a state of feeling, as does the feeling of fear from that of love, and to raise the question, how can it be shown that there is no such possible world as that mentioned above? The one philosopher I know of who has attempted to resolve this problem is S. Leighton, whose central claim is as follows.

8

A

world in which the feelings associated with depression are linked with joyful thoughts is a world in which there is an unharmonious `emotion complex'. The object of the joyful thought is, of course, evaluated positively, but the connected feelings (those of depression) are evaluated negatively. But an emotion cannot be joy unless both the object of thought and the attendant feeling attract the

same

Leighton's

(positive) seems

to

evaluation. me

quite

However,

this

unsuccessful.

It

suggestion fails

to

of

show

why there cannot be such unharmonious emotion-complexes, though

Leighton

does

indeed

claim

that

their

possibility

is

`absurd'. The claim that were there to be such a case as I have just mentioned, it would not be an unequivocal case of joy clearly falls far short of what needs to be shown. A deeper problem with the approach is that it takes the affective aspect of emotion to be itself an object of evaluation. But I have argued that emotional feelings are intentional, and as such they are

114

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

not themselves standardly objects of evaluation.

9

It is that to

which they are directed which is the object of evaluation, rather than the intentional feelings themselves. It is true that, as Wittgenstein saw, one may talk of a horrible feeling of fear, but I don't think this should be taken to support the view that there is some affective state which one can consider in isolation from all possible objects and which can be evaluated. What we can and must allow is quite different from this suggestion: it is that the experience of seeing some aspect of the world as very dangerous and threatening is indeed a disturbing and horrible one. But that is not to suggest that there is some isolable purely affective aspect of the total experience which is disturbing or horrible, and which might itself be the object of an evaluation. It is certainly the case that any intentional attitude can become the object of a higher-order attitude. In being afraid of the encroaching fire, one's attention is directed to that object, but one may later reflect on the experience of being afraid of the encroaching fire, and evaluate that as a horrible experience. But, to repeat, this lends no credence to the view that one can isolate a feeling or a purely affective aspect of one's experience, and evaluate that. It might indeed be thought that the solution to the problem lies in what I have just said. The problem seems to arise only if one accepts the view, clearly implicit in the standard cognitivist view, that the feeling component of emotion is some non-intentional quasi-sensation, only contingently connected to any particular evaluation. It is this conception of emotion which allows the possibility of a world in which evaluation and feeling are matched in a way quite different from the way they are in our world. The problem disappears, it might be claimed, once this view of feeling as a non-intentional effect or at least component of emotion is abandoned. Consider again the related case of pleasure, and, more specifically, the contrasting states of taking pleasure in X and being pained by X. Both are intentional states of feeling; we might say that one is a state of feeling towards, while the other is a state of felt aversion, or feeling against. Where these states are reasonproviding, in neither case could we conceive of hiving off the affective aspect to leave a pure affectless judgement. But if the idea of hiving off the affective element from these states makes no sense, then it is tempting to argue that the idea that the affective elements of these two states could be just swapped must also make

The Nature of Emotion

115

no sense. Since in neither case do we have a state of feeling which is merely contingently connected to a judgement, there is no possible world in which

the affective aspect of one of

these

intentional/affective states finds itself attached to the intentional aspect of the other. This position is, as I have tried to show, generalisable to embrace the case of emotion itself. I think this is the right conclusion, but it is too hastily arrived at. I have argued so far that, at least in relation to warm (`r-p') desire and

pleasure,

it

is

quite

wrong

to

construe

these

states

as

a

conjunction of two distinct elements, judgement and feeling. However, contrary to the suggestion I raised above, the fact that judgement and feeling cannot be regarded as `distinct existences' does not in itself show that each state necessarily has the affective aspect that it has. It is true, of course, that one cannot hive off the affective element to leave a pure affectless judgement, but all that is clear from this is that such states as r-p desire and pleasure must have some affective aspect; it does not follow that each of these states necessarily has the affective aspect that it has. Compare: shape is not a `distinct existence'; one cannot prise the shape off this coin to leave a pure shapeless object. Nevertheless, it is contingently the case that this coin has the perfectly circular shape that it has, since it might have been beaten into some other shape in the course of its life, or been misshapen from the start. The fact that the shape of the coin isn't an object which one might prise off and attach to something else does not impugn the truth that it is contingently the case that any coin has the shape that it has. Its particular shape, that is, is not of the essence of the coin. Every coin must have a shape, but no coin necessarily has the shape that it does. Now it might be argued in parallel to this that, though the affective quality of reason-providing desire and pleasure is not a separable object which might be prised off these states, it does not follow that each of these states necessarily has the affective quality that it has. There might still be a world in which r-p desire has the affective quality which

normally attaches

to being pained by

something. How can this possibility be ruled out? The answer to this must lie in a consideration of the properties we take to belong to the essence of, respectively, physical objects and intentional-affective states of consciousness. With regard to a physical object, there is reason to claim that both its origin and physical constitution belong to its essence, but not its shape. This

116

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

coin, minted in 1971, could not have been minted in any other year, and, being made of bronze, could not have been made of plastic. But what is identifiably the same object, produced in 1971, could have been given, or have subsequently acquired, a different shape. Now if the objection under consideration is to go through it will have to be shown that while the essence of the states of consciousness in question is constituted by their intentionality, their particular affective quality, like the shape of the coin, does not belong to this essence. But the suggested parallel cannot be accepted. It can make no sense to suggest that an intentional/affective

state

such

as

that

of

taking

pleasure

in

something could have had the affective quality normally attaching to being pained by, or being averse to, something. To pursue this suggestion is to lose all sense of what could continue to make it a state of

pleasure.

In short, the notion of some putative state of

pleasure having the affective quality of pain can only prompt the puzzled question: how can it be a state of pleasure if it is a state of feeling

against?

We must accept that such states as r-p desire,

pleasure and pain are states of consciousness which are indissolubly both intentional and affective, indissolubly so in the sense that the state's intentional aspect is inseparable from its particular affective aspect. They are intentional feelings, or states of feelingtowards, as I have repeatedly pointed out. In fact, the suggestion that the particular quality of the affective aspect of any of these states might be a contingent feature fairly clearly rests on the conception of affective states as a species of sensation, or at least as a non-intentional component of the total state of consciousness. It assumes that the states of consciousness in question comprise a level of bare intentionality, which belongs to them essentially, to which is added some sort of quasi-sensational affective quality. But in accepting the claim that the states of feeling in question are themselves intentional, are states of feeling-towards, we reject the conception of them as types of sensation. I have argued so far that there are states of consciousness which are clearly related to emotion and which cannot be construed as a conjunction between a judgement and a contingently connected state of feeling. Each is a distinctive intentional/affective mode of consciousness, a mode of feeling towards. How far does this analysis of states such as that of warm (`r-p') desire and pleasure help towards understanding the relation between judgement and

The Nature of Emotion

117

feeling in emotion as such? Does it help us to avoid the Humean view

of

emotion

as

states

of

feeling

which

are

contingently

connected to particular types of judgement? Does it therefore help to rule out the possibility that, for example, typical grief feelings might be attached to judgements characteristic of joy? At first sight it might seem that the account I have given of such states as that of warm desire, pleasure and pain leaves the problem with respect to emotion precisely where it was. For there is on the face of it a crucial difference between the place of feeling in warm desire

and

pleasure,

which,

so

I

have

argued,

are

essentially

distinctive modes of intentional feeling, and the place of feeling in emotions in general, a difference which can be stated as follows. It seems obvious that while we can not hive off the affective aspect of warm desire to leave a pure affectless judgement underneath, this is precisely what we can do in the case of emotion. It certainly appears to be true of many emotion-judgements that they might be made without feeling; one might coolly observe that one was wrong to do what one did without experiencing the sort of feeling

that

is

usually

a

feature

of

remorse;

that

is,

without

experiencing the full-blooded emotion of remorse. But if this is possible, as it surely is, then with regard to many emotions it does seem to be true that `the affective aspect can be hived off, leaving a pure affectless judgement underneath'. And if that is possible, how can we block the Humean conception of a world in which judgement and feeling are only contingently connected, and thus of a possible world in which judgement and feeling are matched in a way different from the actual? It is certainly true that many emotions differ from r-p desire and pleasure in the noted respect: some emotion-judgements can certainly occur without affect. But this does not compel a return to the old discredited view of feeling as a byproduct of judgement. Indeed, it would be very puzzling if the conception of feeling as a sort of quasi-sensational byproduct of judgement was to be seen as part of the correct analysis of emotion, while that same conception has no place in the analysis of r-p desire and pleasure. Fullblooded emotions, one might say, are states of pleasure or pain, or warm desire. How, then, could one and the same conception of feeling be wrong with respect to r-p desire and pleasure, yet right with respect to emotion? The solution to this problem lies in a point for which I have

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

118

already argued above. We need to recognise that the objects of emotions are often evaluatively characterised states of affairs. Thus remorse involves a judgement that one has done wrong, but the orthodox `cognitivisist' view that this judgement causes a certain quality

of

feeling

is

quite

mistaken,

for

the

reasons

I

have

mentioned. The feeling one experiences is not some mysteriously produced effect of an intrinsically cool judgement. Rather, we feel towards the state of affairs as evaluatively characterised: that one has done wrong and ought to make recompense. In this case, one feels painfully towards the intentional object, and one warmly desires to make recompense. There is, then, no crucial difference between the place of feeling with regard to r-p desire and pleasure and

its

place

with

respect

to

emotion.

I

may

attend

to

the

evaluatively characterised state of affairs which is the object of remorse quite coolly. But equally an object or state of affairs which is normally the object of warm desire or pleasure may be attended to quite coolly. In neither case do we have any support for

the

view

that

feeling

is

a

byproduct

of

judgement.

All

emotions, to repeat Brentano's claim, are forms of love or hate. I think this is close to saying that all emotions are themselves forms of warm desire, or pleasure, or felt aversion. This analysis of emotion allows us to ground two truths which escape

the

grasp

of

the

orthodox

view.

First,

that

there

is

necessarily an affective difference between contrasting emotions such as that of elation on the one hand and grief on the other. Second, that each of these emotions necessarily has the affective aspect that it has; there is no possible world in which elation has the affective quality of grief, or vice versa. Both these features, on the orthodox view, are no more than brute contingencies. One may indeed accept that there is little or no affective difference between, say, shame and embarrassment, but it remains the case that

the

affective

quality

of

these

two

emotions

belongs

of

necessity to them, and that there is no possible world in which their affective quality attaches to emotions such as joy or elation.

The Nature of Emotion and Music's Expression of Emotion Let us look at the implications of this issue for the question of what it is for music to express emotion. I have argued for an

The Nature of Emotion

119

emotivist or arousalist conception of music's power to express emotion. Others have also developed such a position, but, I have claimed, their positions are fatally undermined by their espousal of the orthodox `cognitivist' conception of emotion. The view that the feelings aroused by music have no object, or are akin to moods, is open to the objection that such feelings must themselves become

the

object

of

attention,

to

the

detriment

of

one's

attention to the music, and also to the objection that they have no essential connection with the music. I now want to suggest, in the light of the preceding discussion, that a further problem is that nothing picks out the evoked feelings as essentially those of, say, sadness, joy, or whatever. There is, therefore, a world in which the feelings aroused by the Mahler

Adagietto

are those of joy, or so

the standard emotivist must accept. This is so, since on the view of emotion which underlies this conception there is only a contingent

connection

between the

affective and

the

intentional

aspect of any emotion. It is thus only the fact that the sorts of feeling evoked are those which normally accompany the making of certain sorts of judgements which pick them out as feelings of sadness or joy. The feelings aroused by the

Adagietto

are recog-

nised as those of sadness and yearning because they are the feelings which, in ordinary life, contingently accompany the entertaining of thoughts and judgements about sad states and events. I think this is clearly unacceptable. It cannot be merely a contingent association with certain types of judgement which picks out the feelings aroused by music as feelings of joy or sadness or yearning, or whatever. If that is not immediately obvious in itself, let us remind ourselves of what pleasure is, and of what it could be for music to express or evoke a state of pleasure such as joy. I have argued repeatedly that pleasure cannot be construed as some sort of evaluative judgement coupled with an affective quality. To suppose that the affective aspect is one appropriate to pleasure on the

grounds

that

it

is

linked

to

a

certain

sort

of

evaluative

judgement in our world is to suppose that the evaluative judgement might appear free from its affective overlay, or at least that we can conceive of the judgement independently of its affective accompaniment. But that, I have argued, we cannot do. Only the acceptance of the notion of intentional feeling can save us from this morass. And the view of the nature of intentional feelings such as those of warm desire, pleasure and full-blooded emotion

120

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

that I have developed allows us to accept that the emotions that music

expresses

(evokes)

are

essentially those of sadness, joy,

yearning, or whatever it may. They are not feelings which are contingently connected to certain sorts of judgement or attitude.

Notes 1.

See P. Greenspan, Emotions and Reasons (New York: Routledge, 1988),

2.

See Greenspan, Emotions and Reasons, p. 75ff.

3.

In fact Hamlyn had rejected this conception of emotion much earlier, and

pp. 15±16, and elsewhere.

highlighted the importance of the notion of `feeling towards'; see note 4, below. 4.

D. W. Hamlyn, `The Phenomena of Love and Hate', Philosophy, 1978.

5.

L. Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, vol. II (Oxford:

6.

Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology , vol. I, p. 728.

7.

This is the central objection to the Humean conception of emotion. The

Basil Blackwell, 1980), p. 148.

once-common criticism that Hume held that emotions were non-intentional states of feeling, without representative content, misses its mark, as Davidson showed. See his `Hume's Cognitive Theory of Pride', in his

Essays on Actions and Events (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), p. 288. However, Davidson's view on what the valid criticism of Hume's analysis of emotion is differs from mine, and I do not share it. 8.

S. Leighton, `On Feeling Angry and Elated', Journal of Philosophy, 85,

9.

Leighton in fact notes that, by contrast with bodily feelings, `distinctively

1988.

emotional feelings are intentional' (255, n. 7). In my view this point undermines his argument.

Chapter Eight Music's Expression of Emotion

The analysis of affective intentional states of consciousness such as warm desire, pleasure, and emotion itself, which I have tried to develop, will, I hope, give us a way of understanding what it is for music to express emotion. I have argued in an earlier chapter that the foundation of our understanding of music must lie in the fact that it arouses emotion. Alternative suggestions, such as those invoking the notion of resemblance between musical and human expressive gesture, or resting on the notion of convention, or positing the arousal by music of objectless feelings, won't do, as I have tried to show. I have claimed that all these approaches are at bottom inspired by the analysis of emotion which is shared by Hanslick and proponents of contemporary `cognitivist' positions. I

have

argued,

as

against

other

influential

approaches

to

the

question of music's expression of emotion, that music arouses feelings which are directed to an object, and that the intentional object of that feeling is a musical feature. The account of emotion I have tried to

develop above, if

it is

successful,

shows that

emotion must be a state of feeling towards. The respective objects of emotion in ordinary life on the one hand and in music on the other will differ, the one being typically an evaluatively described state of affairs (though not always so, by any means), and the other always a musical feature. It ought to be possible now to see where the central error in the general

approach

to

music

and

emotion

which

is

shared

by

Hanslick and contemporary writers on the topic must lie. Their basic claim is that since the core of any emotion is a judgement or evaluation of some kind, or at least something which involves conceptualisation, music, not being a conceptual art-form, cannot represent or arouse emotion. I have argued that even if we raise

121

122

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

no question about the acceptability of the standard cognitivist view of emotion, this claim is still not made out. We may allow for the moment the claim that to experience an emotion is at least to employ, or be disposed to employ, a concept or range of concepts, and that, if music is to evoke emotion, it must prompt an exercise of this conceptual ability. Thus, to refer to an example discussed earlier, if music evokes a desire for the resolution of a dominant

seventh

on

the

tonic,

it

might

be

claimed

that

it

prompts in the listener the exercise of a certain conceptual ability, just in so far as it evokes a thought about the desired resolution on the tonic. And it might be argued that such a desire is possible only for those who possess such a conceptual ability. But none of that shows that music could express emotion only if it itself had some quasi-conceptual means of expressing a proposition about the desired resolution, or a way of describing or identifying that resolution. That music is able to evoke states of consciousness which might be said to involve the employment of concepts goes no way towards showing that if music is to express emotion the course of the music itself would have to be seen as a representation of conceptual thought. Scruton's claim that it is difficult to see how

a

non-representational

art

like

music

can

have

genuine

expressive content embodies this misconception. The rejection of this part of Hanslick's thought does not in itself require a rejection, or even a serious modification, of the standard cognitivist approach to emotion. But a proper understanding of what it is for music to express emotion most certainly does. I have argued that the only conception of music's expression of music which is acceptable is a variant of the emotivist or arousalist position. To understand what it is for music to arouse (say) a desire for a particular musical outcome, we have to have a proper conception of warm desire. This, as I have shown, cannot be

construed

as

some

sort

of

evaluation

which

(magically)

produces certain non-intentional states of feeling, or as such an evaluation which is coloured by an affective overlay which might be cleaned off to leave a pure affectless judgement. It must itself be a

form

of

intentional feeling,

an

intentional/affective

state

of

consciousness, whose intentional object in this case is a particular musical outcome. This, as I have argued, must be true of all emotional expression in music. The emotions aroused by music differ from those experienced in ordinary life

only

with respect to

123

Music's Expression of Emotion

their objects. The central mistake of the standard cognitivist view of emotion is that it misconstrues the place of judgement or evaluation in the structure of emotion. This element, I want to argue, is not an intrinsic part of emotion. Rather, as I have argued above, it may appear as the object of emotion. In the case of remorse, the acknowledged wrongness of one's act is the intentional object of one's feeling of pain; in the case of pride, the object of one's positive feeling is the perceived outstanding nature of one's achievement. In the case of music's arousal of emotion, however,

the

object

of

that

emotion

is,

of

course,

not

an

evaluatively described state of affairs, but a musical feature. Further support for the approach to the nature of emotion I have

argued

for

is

provided

by

a

point

I

mentioned

in

the

previous chapter. Having pointed out that Brentano claimed that all emotions involve love or hate, Hamlyn argues that these two emotions may indeed be experienced when they are detached from any particular belief or evaluation. One may love someone even though one's cool evaluation of that person is that he is pretty worthless and even despicable. The emotion of love is a positive feeling towards, one which, in this case, can be free of evaluative belief or judgement. Such feeling towards, Hamlyn suggests, may be seen as underlying all emotion, even where evaluative belief or judgement is more essentially involved. It is true, of course, that most emotions experienced in ordinary life do involve some sort of judgement or evaluation; regret, pride, indignation, and fear, for example, clearly do. And I think it is also true that, even when apparently free from evaluative belief or judgement, the emotion of love will nevertheless involve an evaluative attitude ± a construing, however implicit and unconceptualised, of the object of one's feeling as good in some respect. What I have suggested above can be put in this way: emotions all involve varieties of positive or negative feeling, love or hate, towards

their

objects,

whether

these

objects

are

evaluatively

characterised states of affairs, however far from being explicitly formulated that evaluative attitude may be, or whether, on the other hand, the object is not an evaluatively characterised state of affairs at all; and very often emotions involve a particular mixture or balance of positive and negative feeling towards their objects. Hamlyn's point about the freedom the emotion of love may have from explicitly formulated beliefs or judgements provides another

124

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

avenue towards grasping the truth that the essence of emotion does not lie in the entertaining of judgements. A judgement or evaluation may be the object of emotion, but emotion may occur, as in the case of the emotion of love, in a context which is free from the entertaining of evaluative judgements. Once we are clear of the place of evaluative judgement in emotion, and understand that evaluatively characterised states of affairs are common objects of intentional feeling, we can come to see that these are not the only possible objects of such feeling. It should

be

obvious

anyway

that

intentional/affective

states

of

consciousness which are central to many emotions, such as that of

warm

desire

and

pleasure,

do

not

rest

on

the

making

of

evaluative judgements and often do not have as their objects some evaluatively characterised state of affairs. My general claim, then, is that emotion and the related states of desire and pleasure may take objects which are not evaluatively characterised states of affairs, and in the case of the emotions aroused by music the objects of such emotions are musical features and events.

Emotions in Musical and in Non-musical Contexts

I want now to explore what parallels there are between emotions which are prompted by and directed to situations in the world and emotions evoked by music. I think reflection should lead one to conclude that there are parallels, and that to some considerable extent the emotions evoked by music match those which are experienced in ordinary life. In saying this I reject by implication the view that the feelings aroused by works of art constitute a special class of aesthetic emotion. To take a basic example I have discussed earlier, the emotion evoked by the delayed resolution of a dissonant chord will be an affective desire for that resolution, something like longing, perhaps, and this will be recognisably similar to the longings and yearning experienced in ordinary life: the intentional/affective state of consciousness which is aroused in these two sorts of case is basically similar, but their objects are very different. The fact that their objects are different no more supports the conclusion that the emotions evoked are different than the fact that one can yearn for different things in ordinary life would show

that

the

emotions

different from each other.

experienced

in

such

cases

must

be

125

Music's Expression of Emotion

Let me begin my discussion of the parallels between musical and extra-musical emotion by considering the feature of complexity. Many emotions in ordinary life involve quite complex patterns

of

feelings-towards,

of

intentional/affective

state

of

consciousness. Consider, to take one example, Spinoza's definition of regret:

Regret is a desire or appetite of possessing something, which is fostered by the memory of that thing, and at the same time hindered by the memory desired.

of

other

things

which

cut

off

the

existence

of

the

thing

1

This is a fairly complex combination of states of feeling-towards, one which yields a distinctive mixture or balance of affect. We have a warm desire, the pleasurable remembrance of the state we desire,

pain

at

the

frustration

of

that

desire,

together

with

a

brooding dejection at the thought of the unattainability of the object of desire. Patricia Greenspan, among contemporary writers, has written perceptively on the mixture of affect which characterises many emotions. She talks, for example, of

the sort of pleasurable fear-based experiences . . . that one might have at a

horror

film

or

in

facing

the

challenge

of

some

real-life

danger,

confident that no harm will befall oneself. Fear in such cases may survive as a state of discomfort ± at the thought that harm is likely ± but it will be blended with anticipatory comfort, yielding an overall sense of immunity to danger. The resultant state is pleasurable on the whole, retaining the arousal of fear, but without the typical urge to flee its object, which in this case is cancelled out by confidence.

2

And elsewhere she talks of the differences in affective quality between fear as such and dread, which does not have the same `pressuring' desire for action, and between dread and gloom, which amounts to a deep despondency at all envisioned possibilities. object

3

The sort of pity which involves identifying with the

of

pity

again

embraces

a

mixture

of

affect:

one

feels

uncomfortable about one's own (imagined) state as one identifies with someone else, but also comfortable at the recognition that one is not really in that state. Our ordinary emotional experience, then, quite often embraces a complex mixture of intentional feeling, resulting in a distinctive balance.

126

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

I now want to suggest that it is the peculiar genius of music to capture and evoke patterns of intentional feeling, patterns which can result in a distinctive balance of affect of superfine subtlety.

The

pattern

of

expectations,

of

desires

and

joyful

realisations of those desires or their saddening non-realisation, will result in a distinctive balance of intentional/affective states, producing a unique quality of feeling. Such a quality may be evoked in the individual melodic line, together, of course, with its harmonic implications, and, perhaps even different

musical

intentional

strands,

feeling,

are

each

evoking

combined.

its

more so, when own

Mendelssohn

pattern

was

right

of to

claim that the distinctive balance of intentional feeling which music arouses may be too subtle for words to capture. Now, not only may music evoke such a distinctive balance and quality of affectivity, but the pattern of feeling evoked may well parallel a pattern of feeling encountered in our experience of emotion in a non-musical context, even though, of course, the objects of those intentional feelings are quite different. To consider the example of regret, which I mentioned above, many musicians would claim that the captures

exactly

and

Adagietto

with

a

from Mahler's Fifth Symphony

unique

potency

the

mixture

of

longing and nostalgic pleasure which is central to the experience of that emotion. However, one quite often finds it claimed that pure instrumental music is incapable of expressing anything but the most rough-grained emotion, and that it is only when it is linked to a text that music seems to express precisely defined emotion. To my mind this claim is absolutely belied by our musical experience. Consider the well-known love-themes in the following works:

Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet Tristan

Tchaikovsky's

, the balcony scene from Berlioz's

, the end of the first act of Verdi's

Prelude to would

have

Otello

, and the

(the so-called `Look' theme). No musician, I

thought,

could

possibly

consider

the

expressive

import of these themes to be all `sort of love-ish', and leave it at

that.

We

all

recognise

the

subtle

but

obvious

differences

between the expressive character of these various themes. To take another example, the opening theme of the slow movement of Beethoven's

PatheÂtique

Sonata has a unique expressive char-

acter, part sad, part consolatory. That unique expressive character is the product of the particular, and unique, balance of expressive

Music's Expression of Emotion

127

factors which are comprised in the piece: the low register, the slow and gentle gait, the start of the melody on the mediant degree,

the

rising

phrase

followed

by

a

descending

phrase,

together with a chromatic colouring, and so on. And, as I have said, most musicians would agree about the utterly distinctive emotional character of the Mahler

Figure 8.1

This

character

is

Adagietto

Adagietto

.

from Mahler's Fifth Symphony.

explicable

by

reference

to

the

particular

individual musical elements which together determine the distinctive emotional character of the passage: the slow tempo, the long opening note, and the drifting figuration in the bass, all go to give an impression of emotional stasis, a state which is slowly disturbed as the treble line moves longingly at the end of the second bar, though the underlying harmony creates ambiguity as to whether we are in A minor or F major. The base note at the beginning of the third bar resolves the ambiguity and conveys a sense of arriving home, in F major, but this is counterbalanced by the yearning appoggiatura in the treble line, which itself finally resolves on F major, creating an intense feeling of fulfilment. But again the melodic line departs on another yearning quest, and sinks

into

other

points

of

repose,

and

so

on.

The

sense

of

luxuriating in the present state followed by longing for some other point of repose matches exactly the emotional pattern of feeling which is distinctive of regretful nostalgia. And it expresses this

distinctive

quality

of

emotion,

not

in

evoking

a

sort

of

128

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

regretful nostalgia in general without any determinate object, but in evoking a pattern of emotional response of which all the strands are directed to features of the music.

4

I have claimed both that music can evoke highly complex patterns of intentional feeling and also that the patterns of feeling thus evoked are very often recognisable as precisely those we can experience in a `real-life' or extra-musical context. The lovethemes I have mentioned express and evoke feelings which we know from our experience of life. Music, in evoking a pattern of emotion, mirrors the essential shape and substance of human experience. What we might call the elements of what music evokes are and must be the same as the basic elements of emotion in extra-musical life. All emotions, Brentano reminds us, are built from positive and negative intentional feeling, loving and hating. This does not imply that the pattern of feeling which music evokes in any instance must be recognisable as a pattern which we have experienced in ordinary life. As I have already indicated, the pattern of intentional feeling which music may evoke can be of a complexity

which

nothing

in

ordinary

life

may

match.

But

sometimes, indeed often, that pattern will match the pattern of feeling experienced in an extra-musical context. This is surely so in the case of the Mahler The

thought

that

the

Adagietto feelings

.

5

evoked

by

music

have

no

particular object, or that the expressive power of music can be compared with expressive behavioural gestures which point to objects which are unknown to us, may well derive some of whatever persuasiveness it has from a misinterpretation of the point I have just made. For it is tempting to suggest that if music can evoke a pattern of feeling of a sort which might be experienced

in

evoked

an

by

indefinite

music

have

variety no

of

contexts,

particular

then

object:

the

they

feelings

are

about

`everything, or nothing'. But this is a confusion. The feelings evoked by music are directed to musical events; but the feelings thus evoked are often recognisable as the sorts of feeling which we experience in extra-musical contexts. But that offers no support at all to the claim that the feelings evoked by music are essentially objectless.

There

is,

to

compare,

something

common

to

all

experiences that are (say) joyful; but there is no such experience as that of objectless joy. Another important point is one that Roger Scruton has rightly

Music's Expression of Emotion

emphasised.

It

although

may

it

is

that not

the

response

match

any

that

music

evokes

extra-musical

129 in

experience

us, or

sequence of experiences item-by-item, will sometimes involve a reordering of our feelings and sympathies, a reordering which is `in a very real sense, an emotional education'.

6

Scruton continues

as follows:

The great triumphs of music, it seems to me, involve this synthesis, whereby

a

musical

structure,

moving

according

to

its

own

logic,

compels our feeling to move along with it, and so leads us to rehearse a feeling at which we would not otherwise arrive. Consider Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The plain, awesome statement of those opening bars leads to an extraordinary musical argument, in which every kind of tragic, defiant and titanic emotion is shown to have been dormant in the initial gesture. There follows a frenzied dance, full of wit and paradox, in which the music recklessly disregards what it has discovered; from thence we proceed to a sublime meditation, full of longing, in double variation form. The three movements leave a memory of contrasted dances, in which the listener's sympathy is led through the possibilities of an heroic solitude. Suddenly, we hear a musical negation: the chord of D minor with an added minor sixth and major seventh, commanding a full stop to the dream of isolation. The lines of a recitative emerge: phrases which take their meaning from the accent of human speech, and which effortlessly lead to the melody of the `Ode to Joy'. This triumphant affirmation of community is not the cheap trick that it might have been: for it has received the stamp of musical inevitability. We are made to rehearse, in our extended sympathies, a particular movement of the soul. We return from private struggle to public comfort, and we feel this return as natural, inevitable. We sense that it is possible, after all, to explore

the

depths

of

human

isolation,

and

still

to

re-emerge

in

communion with our fellow men.

Hanslick Again Let us return now to the fundamental claim, shared by Hanslick and contemporary thinkers, that the reason why music cannot evoke emotion proper is that the conceptual framework which houses most emotions is beyond the power of music to capture. As I argued earlier, some ways of putting this point fairly clearly miss the target. It cannot be right to claim that music, being a non-conceptual art, lacks any means of representing evaluative judgements or attitudes directed to an object. All that is necessary is that music should have the power to

evoke

intentional attitudes,

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Philosophy, Music and Emotion

even if the possession and activation of such attitudes involves a conceptual element ± even if, to take the basic example to which I have referred repeatedly, the arousal of the desire for the resolution of the dominant seventh on the tonic involves a conception of such a resolution as desirable or good. But this cannot be the whole of the story. The Hanslickian claim is not simply that emotion requires some sort of conceptual thought which cannot be represented by music (a point which, I have argued, has no cogency), but that the

objects

of emotional

propositional attitudes cannot be musical items. It makes no sense to suggest that one can love or hate a musical outcome, still less that one could be angry about it or proud of it, or feel shame or remorse about it. These emotions essentially involve conceptual attitudes which cannot sensibly be directed to musical states of affairs. Music cannot evoke or arouse intentional feelings such as anger or remorse, not because music has no way of representing a thought about the objects of these emotions, but because it makes no sense to suggest that the object of such emotions could be a musical state of affairs. The first point to make in response is that, while it may be at the very least questionable to suggest that one might love or hate, or even be angry about or proud of, a musical outcome, there does not appear to be the same oddity in the claim that one may strongly desire, or even yearn for, a musical event, and experience intense satisfaction and even joy at the realisation of this desire. On the contrary, as I have repeatedly insisted, such intentional feelings are indeed evoked by music. The Hanslickian point, then, could at best show not that music cannot express (evoke) emotion, but that there is a range of emotions, however large, which music cannot express. But in fact the apparent cogency of even this claim rests on the standard cognitivist view of emotion, a conception which I have rejected. I have argued that the analysis of emotion as essentially a conjunction of the entertainment of some evaluative proposition plus certain non-intentional feelings which this entertainment brings about is unsound, since, among other reasons, it misconstrues the place of evaluative judgement or belief in the structure of emotion. I have argued that the feelings manifest in emotion are not sensations but

intentional feelings, and that their objects are,

typically, evaluatively characterised states of affairs. I have also

131

Music's Expression of Emotion

claimed that while in ordinary life the objects of emotion are often evaluatively

characterised

states

of

affairs,

the

objects

of

the

emotions evoked by music are always musical events. Given that the

standard

cognitivist

view

thus

misconstrues

the

place

of

judgement or evaluation in the structure of emotion, it is not clear that the objection to music's ability to express emotion outlined in the previous paragraph can retain its force. I have

not the essence

argued that the making of evaluative judgements is of

emotion,

evaluatively

though

intentional

characterised

states

feeling of

is

affairs.

often To

say

directed that

to

what

prevents music from expressing emotion is that no musical event could be the object of some such evaluative attitude as remorse or anger clearly assumes that the essence of emotion is indeed the entertaining of such evaluations. But if I am right to claim that evaluatively characterised states of affairs are, rather, a common

object

of emotion, it is unclear what, if anything, prevents musical

events being the object of the same sort or pattern of intentional feeling as is commonly directed to evaluatively characterised states of

affairs.

Our

reluctance

to

say

that

music

can

express

the

emotion of anger or pride may simply indicate our judgement that unless the object of intentional feeling is (say) the recognition that what one did was wrong, then the emotion in question cannot be one of

remorse.

But the pattern of intentional feeling

which music is able to evoke may be, notwithstanding this, the same as is directed to the evaluatively characterised state of affairs in virtue of which the emotion is deemed to be one of remorse. That this might not be deemed an evocation of

remorse looks to be

no more than a linguistic point. It is not yet clear, then, why there should be

any

emotions

which cannot be evoked by music. I suggested just above that the reason might be that it appears to make no sense to say that one might be angry about or feel remorse about musical states of affairs. But this, it now appears, is far from conclusive. One might also say that it is at the very least odd to suggest that music can evoke the emotion of

love,

since one cannot be said to love some

assembly of aural events as one might love a person. Nevertheless, the pattern of intentional feeling which is of the essence of love ± the longing for the loved person together with joy when that longing achieves its end ± is one which music has captured in all its variety and with the greatest expressive precision. What is

132

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

evoked in the listener is a pattern of intentional feeling towards musical events which exactly matches a pattern of feeling we experience in ordinary life. Again, we might jib at the suggestion that music can express regret, since it appears odd to claim that what is evoked in the listener might be regret that a particular musical outcome did or did not appear, or anything of the sort. But again, as I have already argued, the complex pattern of intentional feeling which is comprised in regret and nostalgia is one which music has evoked with the greatest precision. The pattern of intentional feeling is directed to musical events and states, but that pattern is one which mirrors a pattern of feeling experienced in ordinary life.

7

Are there any Emotions that Music cannot Express? I said above that it is not clear why there should be any emotion which cannot be evoked by music. But in fact there is a whole batch of emotions which seem to be bound up with conceptualisation in a more central way which threatens to preclude any musical expression of them. Among these emotions, one might suggest, are pride, remorse, indignation, contempt, jealousy, pity and fear. What exactly precludes these emotions from being expressed by music, if indeed they cannot be so expressed? One reason which we have seen not to be tenable is that while one can desire, even long for, a musical outcome, or hope for it, and be saddened when it is not actualised, it hardly makes sense to suggest that the occurrence or non-occurrence of some musical event could be the object of remorse. But, as I have argued above, this is not a conclusive demonstration that music cannot express (evoke) what one might call the subjective essence of remorse. If one is full of remorse, one longs for a certain outcome; one is in a state of pain from which one longs to be free. That pattern of feeling is something which music may indeed be able to capture. David Putnam is quite wrong in suggesting that if an emotion requires an object then music cannot express it, and it is only those emotions which are capable of being experienced in non-musical contexts without an object that music can express.

8

Putnam puts shame in the first category

133

Music's Expression of Emotion

and sadness in the second. However, in my view all emotions require an object, and in their expression by music they always take a musical object. The real reason why music may not be able to express remorse as such is that the pattern of intentional feelings which music is able to evoke, which I have characterised as that of being in a state of pain from which one longs to be free, may not be enough to distinguish remorse as such from other emotional states. That is, one can be in a state of pain from which one longs to be free without being in a state of remorse. It may be that remorse as such is not characterised by a unique pattern of intentional feeling, and that what distinguishes remorse from other emotions is a purely conceptual feature. Remorse, one might say, is essentially a matter of thinking that one's action is a cause for deep regret, an action which

is

to

be

condemned,

and

which

redounds

to

one's

profound discredit. This brings with it a pattern of intentional feeling, but it is not a pattern which is

unique

to remorse.

It would be quite wrong to infer from this that music is able to evoke or express only `rough-grained' emotion, as Kivy and others have claimed. I have argued earlier that this view is wholly implausible, and it gains no support from the point I have just admitted, that remorse (for example) may not be characterised by a unique pattern of intentional feeling. The temptation to suppose that this point does indeed lead to the view that music can express only (fairly) rough-grained emotion arises from the thought that if there is no pattern of intentional feeling which is unique to remorse, then any pattern of feeling which music is able to evoke cannot be specific enough to pick it out as an expression of remorse, since there is no such specific feeling, and therefore must be fairly rough-grained. What music presents to us cannot be an expression of

remorse.

Only a

conceptual

utterance can be that.

But in fact this point does not show that there is any `roughgrainedness' in the emotion which music evokes. On the contrary, that emotion may well be of a superfine quality, as I have tried to demonstrate. But what picks it out as an expression of emotion of superfine exactness is not a matter that corresponds to the sort of conceptual distinction that identifies some particular emotion as remorse. The classification of emotion in terms of distinct

patterns

or

balances

of

intentional

feeling

may

not

correspond to a classification in terms of conceptual content.

134

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

Music

may

then

be

unable

to

express

remorse

as

such,

or

distinguish in what it can express between remorse and other emotional states in which one longs for release from a state of emotional pain. But that state of longing for release from a state of emotional pain may be evoked in incomparable precision by music, and different pieces of music may evoke different aspects of it. Earlier I discussed the different expressions of the emotion of love which are captured in some well-known love-themes. Each of them expresses the emotion of love, but each expresses this emotion in a distinctive way; that is, each captures a different aspect of this emotion, or puts its emphasis on one particular aspect

and

each

theme

captures

an

aspect

of

emotion

with

superfine exactness. The difference between the case of love and that of remorse is that in the former music captures with total precision various aspects of the emotion of love, and is recognised as so doing; that is, our ordinary classification of this emotion under the concept `love' matches the classification of it as a state of feeling towards. In the case of remorse, however, the conceptual classification differs from a classification in terms of intentional/ affective states. The conceptual classification rests on the distinctive judgements that are entertained. Much the same points need to be made about emotions such as embarrassment or indignation. Music, for sure, cannot express the difference between shame and embarrassment, for much the same reason as, as I argued above, it cannot convey the emotion of shame. And that is because what picks these emotions out as the emotions they are is the evaluative judgement entertained by the subject, one which, though it is certainly characterised by intentional feeling, is not characterised by a distinctive mode of intentional feeling. As Errol Bedford pointed out long ago, it is not plausible to suggest that shame feels different from embarrassment.

9

The difference between the two emotions is in terms of

the judgement the subject entertains: it is essential to shame that the subject thinks the object of shame as redounding to his or her discredit, while embarrassment is linked to the tendency to think that what embarrasses one may be the object of ridicule. But the longing to be free of some situation is common to both emotions, and to others. But, to repeat, the fact that a classification of emotion in terms of conceptual content may not be isomorphic with a classification in terms of patterns of intentional feeling

135

Music's Expression of Emotion

cannot

show

that

there

is

anything

rough-grained

about

a

classification of this latter sort.

Some Remaining Difficulties 1. Complex and Competing Emotions I have argued that the ground of our understanding of music is its power to evoke emotion in the listener. Some see it as a major problem with this position that a complex passage of music in which there are a number of individual expressive strands, as in some of Bach's music, or an ensemble passage in an opera, in which each voice expresses a different thought, would impose on the

listener

the

need

to

experience

a

range

of

different

and

conflicting emotions simultaneously. But in fact this point does not present a serious problem for the sort of account of music's power. What it shows, at most, is that we cannot suppose that responding to such a passage is a matter of the music's arousing a whole complex of conflicting emotions. Nevertheless, the understanding of the whole complex must rest on music's power to evoke emotion in the listener. That is, each individual strand of music is intelligible only because it standardly evokes the appropriate emotion in the listener. Listening to a complex of musical strands, each of which expresses a different emotion,

will,

however,

require

the

listener

to

take

a

more

`distanced' stance in relation to the totality of conflicting emotions expressed. It is possible to argue, however, that not even this is necessary, since we all know what it is to feel conflicting emotions in our ordinary experience. However, the experience of conflicting emotions in ordinary life is that of emotions which swiftly alternate, and reference to these may not allow us to accept that it is possible to experience simultaneously a variety of conflicting emotions. The point raises a question which I considered earlier, and that is whether it is right to claim, as some have suggested, that one's experience of music is a matter of identifying with the music. The question which the discussion above raises is whether one can suppose one's experience of a piece of music in which conflicting emotions are expressed simultaneously to involve the identification by the listener with each of these conflicting emotions. It is sometimes argued against the evocation theory that just as no one

136

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

can plausibly claim that listening and responding to a complex pattern of dialogue in a play between a number of characters, each expressing actually

different

experience

emotions, each

means

emotion,

that

and

the

thus

listener

be

in

a

would state

of

near-unbearable emotional conflict, so it is equally implausible to suggest that listening responsively to a piece of music expressing different emotions involves the listener's actually experiencing all the conflicting emotions. Indeed, it might be claimed, this is an even less plausible account of our responsiveness to music than it is of our responsiveness to dialogue in a play, since in the case of music the emotions are often expressed

simultaneously,

and

it is wholly implausible to suggest that the listener experiences a tangle of conflicting emotions occurring all at the same time. The suggested parallel with what it is to respond to a section of dialogue in a play is, however, not apt. The important difference between our understanding of dialogue and our understanding of music is that we can understand, just in virtue of knowing the language, what is said in the dialogue, even though we may not actually experience the emotions expressed, either at the time of listening or perhaps ever in our lives. But the case of music is, I have argued, quite different. Understanding music cannot be a matter of learning the conventional meanings of musical events. The only ground of understanding, I have argued, lies in music's power to evoke emotion. The question now is whether responding to music which expresses conflicting emotions involves the arousal

of

these

emotions.

I

suggested

above

that,

while

the

ground of our understanding of the musical expression of emotion must lie in music's power to arouse such emotions, it does not follow from this that, in listening responsively to music which expresses

a

complex

pattern

of

different

emotions,

one

must

experience these conflicting emotions. One may take a more `distanced' stance. However, the question remains: what is it not just to understand the music, but to

respond

to it? If it is not to experience the

emotions which are expressed, then what? I think the answer is that a full response to the music

does

involve the arousal of each

strand in the total emotional scene. As I hinted at an earlier point in

the

discussion,

our

ordinary

extra-musical

experience

of

emotion often embraces the experience of different emotions which are in conflict with each other: we feel desire for something

137

Music's Expression of Emotion

and at

the same time

aversion to it, for

example. I do not,

therefore, think that my suggestion above that the appreciation of music expressing a complex web of conflicting emotions means that one must take a more `distanced' view of the emotional landscape is an acceptable one after all. A more distanced viewpoint would mean, I think, a less than full response to the music.

2. Emotional Response to Opera and Works in Related Forms My argument throughout this book has concerned itself with what Kivy calls pure instrumental music. It must be admitted, however, that the situation becomes more complicated when the issue is the nature of our response to opera, in particular. I have claimed that it is wrong to construe our response to music as some sort of sympathetic or empathetic response as to a person. Scruton is

certainly

right

to

point

out

that

the

emotion

we

feel

in

responding sympathetically to a person may be quite different from the emotion we take that person to be experiencing, though he is quite wrong to see this point as constituting a refutation of the

evocation

theory.

However,

there

is

no

doubt

that

our

response to characters in an opera is like our response to characters in a play, film or novel in this respect, that it often does involve a sympathetic

or

empathetic

response.

The

question

therefore

arises: is the nature of our response to opera quite different from that of our response to a symphony or a sonata? I think

the

suggestion

that

our

response

to

works

in

one

musical form is utterly different from our response to the other is fairly clearly unacceptable. Both in relation to instrumental music and to opera, our

musical

understanding of its expressive

character must basically rest on that music's power to evoke the emotions that are expressed. The claim one sometimes meets that music's

ability

to

express

anything

more

than

rough-grained

emotions rests on its being linked to a text is one that I have rejected in my discussion of the contour view. I might add that if one takes this view then one will be unable to explain those passages in opera in which the words say one thing and the music expresses quite another feeling. The truth, I think, is that one's response to an operatic character can be complex. The music evokes (arouses) certain emotions, those that it expresses, but the

verbal

expression of certain emotions by the character may well

138

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

evoke a further layer of response. The result is that we both feel the emotions expressed in the music and also respond sympathetically or empathetically to the person we take to be having those emotions on the stage. The latter sort of response is a matter of our either identifying with the operatic character, feeling the emotions that they feel in the opera, or reacting sympathetically to that character. In the latter case, of course, part of one's response will be a response to a character, and one will often feel an emotion which is

not

expressed by the music, simply because responding

sympathetically to a person is often to experience an emotion other than the one we take to be experienced by the person to whom we are responding. But, once again, we need to emphasise that this complexity of emotional response is often a feature of our experience in ordinary-life contexts. Sometimes, then, we may feel with an operatic character in the sense that we feel the emotions which the music arouses and which we also attribute to the character. In this sort of context we may be said to identify with the character. In other contexts we feel the emotions which the music arouses and which we attribute to the character, but we also feel sympathetically towards the character we take to be experiencing such emotions, and this feeling of sympathy is one which is

not

aroused by the music, but

one which is aroused by attending to a character we take to be experiencing the emotions which

are

aroused in us by the music.

This latter sort of case is not a matter solely of identifying with an operatic

character,

though

we

feel

the

emotions

which

we

attribute to that character. The point is that, in so far as reflection on what it is for a character to feel those emotions provokes a reaction of sympathy, then that cannot be simply a matter of identifying with that character and with the emotions we take that character to feel.

3. Identifying with the Music Again We may think that the issue of whether we may be said to identify with the music becomes complicated only in the context of opera and forms related to opera, but that it is comparatively simple in relation to pure instrumental music. But it is worth reminding ourselves of some points I made in a discussion of this issue in an earlier chapter. The problem was that if one wants to say that one identifies with the music when it evokes a desire for a musical

Music's Expression of Emotion

139

feature or outcome, is it right to say that one identifies with the music when that outcome is achieved? If we do want to say that we identify with the music's triumph, say, then the question arises, what is the music being triumphant about? The unavoidable answer would seem to be: nothing specific, or something pretty indeterminate; maybe `everything or nothing'. If we reject, as we ought, the suggestion that music evokes such indeterminate states, the awkward conclusion might seem forced on us: we identify with the music's desiring or striving for a resolution, but we

cannot

be

said

to

identify

with

the

music's

triumphant

emotion when that resolution is reached. We can identify with the first because that striving or desire has a clear object, but we cannot be said to identify with the latter, since there is no apparent object of the putative triumphant emotion. That is a wholly unacceptable outcome. If we persist in talking of the listener identifying with the music, we confront a certain tension. On the one hand, the claim is that we identify with the music when it arouses emotion in us; but on the other hand, we claim, music provides the intentional object of such emotions. But this is incoherent. A musical event cannot both be an expression of triumph with which we may identify and at the same time the object of that feeling of triumph. No musical event could be both a harmonic resolution and at the same time an exalting at having arrived at that resolution. In fact, talk of identifying with the emotions in the music really makes no sense in any context, since it implies that the music possesses emotions independently of the listener, and it is these with

which

the

listener

identifies.

But,

as

I

have

repeatedly

argued, music possesses or expresses emotions only in the sense that it evokes emotion in the listener, emotion whose intentional object is always a musical event. Talk of identifying with the emotion of the music in anything like the way that we might identify with the emotions of an individual is therefore quite misplaced. The latter presupposes the existence of such emotions in the individual independently of one's response to them. To posit such independent existence in the case of musical emotion is to be involved in confusion. Response to music, then, is neither a matter of sympathising or empathising with the music as if it were a person, nor is it a matter of identifying with the emotional life of the music. Yet to listen

140

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

responsively to music is certainly to adopt a first-person stance, or to listen `from the inside'. It is to experience the music in a way quite different from the way we experience it when it becomes for us an object of irritation or boredom or even derision. We live through a passage of emotion directed by the music. It is easy to slip into characterising this experience as a matter of identifying with the music. I think, as I have tried to show, that such a way of describing the matter is strictly incoherent, but it is right nevertheless that a proper response to music is not a matter of becoming apprised of the melodic and harmonic progress of the music, but of the music evoking what might be described as a first-person experience of emotion.

4. Music and Negative Emotion Some philosophers have argued that the suggestion that music arouses the emotions we take it to express remains a mistaken one. Kivy, as is well known, has rejected the claim that music can arouse `garden-variety' emotions, and has in particular dismissed the suggestion that music we take to express tragic or despairing emotions, or any sort of `negative' emotion, actually arouses that emotion in the listener. He and others have claimed that it is simply false to say that sad music actually causes the listener to feel sad. Now, although it is true that some points commonly made against the claim that music which expresses negative or painful emotions actually arouses such emotions in the listener must be set aside, there does remain a problem about music's expression of negative emotion which needs to be looked at. We can set aside straightaway the objection that people would not willingly put themselves in the way of experiencing anything which is going to arouse painful emotions. Clearly, people do just that; otherwise there would not be such a thing as horror films, for example. As Patricia Greenspan points out, the experience of watching an effective horror film is one in which genuine fear is aroused,

but

it

is

also

pleasurable.

Indeed,

it

would

not

be

pleasurable if it did not also arouse genuine fear. People welcome the opportunity to look at and exercise painful emotions, aroused by being confronted by representations of some of the worst things that can happen to human beings, in a context which is known to be in fact free from danger, and they take pleasure in such

experiences.

It

is,

however,

generally

true

that

at

the

141

Music's Expression of Emotion

moment when real fear is aroused we cannot be said to enjoy it. The enjoyment in this sort of case is essentially retrospective. But this is not the case with sad or `weepy' films; it really is the case that a great many people enjoy the experience of being made to feel sad by such films, and enjoy the experience as it happens. And in the case of a good horror film, we may return to a frightening sequence repeatedly and experience both fear and enjoyment in the one total state of consciousness. We are still aware of, and still feel, the fear or anxiety the film induces, but this is coupled with an element of pleasure. We might claim that the same is true of our experience of music that evokes (arouses) disturbing emotion: we both feel that emotion and at the same time take pleasure in its evocation. This pleasure is in part the product of experiencing painful emotions in a context, as in the case of disturbing films, which is not actually threatening, but it can also be produced by one's recognition of how exactly feelings can be evoked in a medium which is utterly remote from the usual causes and contexts of such emotion. The totality

of

our

experience

of

music

can,

therefore,

be

very

complex indeed. The real problem which the case of music's expression of negative emotion may give rise to is quite different from those which opponents of the evocation theory usually mention. I have claimed the object of attention is the music, and that a major flaw in the usual versions of the arousal theory is that, in positing moods,

or

other

non-intentional

states,

as

the

effect

of

our

listening to music, they posit something which must become the object of attention, rather than the music itself; further, such non-intentional

states

are

only

contingently

connected

to

the

music. This problem becomes deeper when we come to ask what, on the standard arousal theory, it can be to take pleasure in music. Either that pleasure is an additional non-intentional state of consciousness which competes for attention along with the nonintentional moods which music evokes, or it is an intentional state of consciousness, but one whose object threatens to be the moods that music induces rather than the music itself. Either way, the experiences which are thus posited have no

essential

connection

with the music, and an answer to the `separable experience' objection looks ever more remote. I have claimed, by contrast, that what music evokes are not non-intentional feelings, but

142

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

emotions Further,

whose to

take

object

is

pleasure

always in

the

the

music

music

is,

itself,

again,

essentially. to

have

an

intentional attitude whose object is essentially the music, and that indeed the various emotional attitudes we have to the music

are varieties of pleasure (or pain). The

problem

with

my

account

of

music's

expression

of

negative emotion is that it appears to threaten the claim that the undivided object of attention is the music itself. For I seem to be suggesting that although the object of the negative or painful emotion is the music itself, the object of the pleasure which one also has is something else: one enjoys the opportunity to experience painful emotions in a context which is not actually threatening. That certainly looks to be an object of attention different from the music itself. It might look, then, as if the view I have argued

for

does

after

all

involve

a

major

division

in

one's

attention; one's attention is in part given to the music, but in part given to the experiences which music evokes. I don't however think that this charge of a major division in one's attention can be made out. It is certainly the case that one's intentional attitude comprises both painful and (predominantly) pleasurable aspects. But I think it is wrong to suggest that these aspects have different objects. Rather, the object of one's complex affective attitude is one and the same thing: the music. As I noted earlier, many of our ordinary extra-musical emotional experiences embrace different aspects. Patricia Greenspan points out that all emotions that essentially involve desire will involve an element of discomfort. The longing for something is both a painful emotion, or at least involves an element of discomfort, but at the same time pleasurable. One pleasurably anticipates the end of the desire, but its present absence is painful. The thought of the end of desire as absent is painful, but, in so far as it involves the thought of the end itself, also pleasurable. Both affective aspects are aspects of a single complex intentional attitude, directed to one and the same object. I think our experience of music, in so far as it involves different affective aspects, can be construed in the same manner.

Notes 1.

B. Spinoza,

2.

Greenspan,

Ethics (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1955), p. 136. Emotions and Reasons, p. 78.

Music's Expression of Emotion

143

3.

Greenspan, Emotions and Reasons, p. 34.

4.

I draw here on Leonard Bernstein's discussion of this passage in his The

Unanswered Question (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1976), pp. 196-9. 5.

In

Chapter

4

of

his

Values of Art (London: Penguin Books, 1995),

Malcolm Budd argues that `when you hear music as being expressive of E ± when you hear E in the music ± you hear the music as sounding like the way E feels' (p. 136). I have been unable to get a clear sense as to what this claim amounts to. On my view, the music sounds expressive of a certain

emotion

if it standardly evokes

that emotion

in the sensitive

listener, such that the listener hears the music `from the inside', and the aroused emotions are directed to the music itself. I don't think Budd is arguing for this position. He seems to allow that one way of perceiving the likeness between the music and feeling is for the music actually to arouse the relevant feeling (p. 147), but then makes the common claim that `the emotion is not about any definite state of affairs . . . If the emotion is triumph, it will be triumph whose object is not specified.' (p. 149). I have argued repeatedly that this view is a crucially mistaken one. However, both here and in Chapter 1 of his Music and the Emotions , Budd offers an account of emotion with which I am in general agreement. 6.

Scruton, The Aesthetics of Music, p. 359.

7.

Let me emphasise again that the view I have developed differs fundamentally from that of Levinson and Jenefer Robinson. Both these writers accept that music cannot express any emotion directed to a specific object, but only, at best, a specific kind of intentional state, be that hope, for example, or, as Robinson claims, a specific type of hope. In either case, what we have is something that gives a sense of directedness, but is not itself directed to a specific intentional object. On my view, the emotions aroused by music are indeed standardly directed to specific musical events and states.

8.

D. Putnam, `Why Instrumental Music Has No Shame', British Journal of

9.

Errol Bedford, `Emotions', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society , 1995±6.

Aesthetics, 27, 1987.

Chapter Nine

Retrospect

In this book I have attempted to achieve two related aims. First, to come to a proper understanding of what it is for music to express emotion. Second, to use the initial conclusions of this discussion to try to understand what emotion itself is. In turn, I hoped to show that a fuller understanding of what emotion is will support and deepen our understanding of music's expression of emotion, and of the place of feeling in the nature of emotion, desire and pleasure. In this chapter I try to bring together all the strands of the argument I have presented. The literature on what it is for music to express emotion has been dominated by two broad approaches. These approaches arise from a reading of the nature of emotion expressed in the first place by Hanslick in relation to music, and, quite independently, by contemporary proponents of the so-called `cognitivist' analysis of emotion. This account of emotion, I have argued, is radically flawed. In relation to music it has made impossible an acceptable account of music's power of expression. The two broad approaches to this issue I referred to above present themselves fairly explicitly as attempts to construe what it is for music to express emotion in a way which is consonant with the Hanslickian/ cognitivist account of emotion. The challenge that this view presents is that emotion, on this view, is essentially an entertaining of an evaluative judgement about the object of the emotion. Any expression of emotion must therefore involve conceptual powers which music, as a non-conceptual art, clearly lacks: the ability to express or represent an evaluative thought about an object, and the ability to identify such an object. However, neither of the broad attempts to offer an account of music's power to express emotion in a way which takes acccount of Hanslick's position,

144

Retrospect

145

which I referred to above, offers a coherent account of what it is for music to express emotion. Their failure is clear enough, but it is a failure which, I argue, stems from the fact that the conception of emotion on which it is based is untenable.

Resemblance plus Convention

.

The

view

that

music

expresses

emotion in virtue of a resemblance between musical and human expressive gestures is one that has been argued for by a number of leading writers in the field, but is nevertheless extraordinarily implausible. Even if we agree to set aside the point for which Scruton has argued, that talk of a melodic line rising or falling, and so on, is metaphorical, the claim that melodic lines presents a `contour' which resembles this or that expressive behavioural gesture cannot be made to stand up. There are, as I argued in detail, no such contours. The most that can be allowed is that features such as moving quickly or slowly impose certain very broad constraints on what the music might be expressing (moving very quickly is not compatible with expressing funereal gloom, for example), but beyond that the suggested similarity between musical and human expressive gestures simply does not exist. Two points in particular are worth emphasising. First, human expressive gestures do not display themselves as `contours' which have an intrinsic expressive significance; they get their expressive significance

from

the

context

in

which

they

are

embedded.

Second, a melodic line has its expressive force not in virtue of resembling some human expressive movement, but in virtue of its harmonic implications and the tensions and relaxations that the melodic/harmonic unit displays. Most

supporters

of

this

sort

of

view

realise

that

harmony

contributes centrally to the expressive power of music, and in a way which it is difficult to construe as a matter of resemblance to expressive human behaviour. The claim made by proponents of the behavioural resemblance view is that the expressive power of harmony is essentially a matter of convention.

1

For a number of

reasons, however, the notion that music comprises in its harmonic aspect an assembly of symbols to which are ascribed a purely conventional meaning is impossible to accept. We do not absorb the meaning of musical terms in the manner in which it has been claimed

we

learn

the

meaning

of

the

words

in

our

native

language, `with our mother's milk'. The suggestion that this is

146

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

how we learn our native language is clearly mistaken; we are taught, however informally, the meanings of the words in our language, usually by ostension. We are not, however, taught the meanings of musical terms. Even if we try to imagine that we might have been, we would be utterly bereft of any explanation of how it is that musical terms have not simply a conventional meaning but an

expressive force, and have this for us as soon as we

understand them. The idea that musical terms have in the first instance a conventional meaning to which, somehow or other, an expressive force is added cannot be sustained. To suppose this is to imply that it would be possible to understand the conventional meaning of a musical term without grasping its expressive force, and this, I suggest, is impossible. I conclude that the view that sees the expressive force of music to lie in a combination of the supposed resemblance of musical gestures to expressive human gestures plus a purely conventional element of meaning which attaches to the harmonic dimension of music is wholly untenable. There can be no separation of the melodic from the harmonic dimensions

of

music,

and

neither

the

notion

of

behavioural

resemblance nor that of convention offers us any insight into what it is to understand music. The question that presents itself at this point is this: if our understanding of the expressive power of music is not a matter of perceiving resemblances between musical and human expressive gestures, nor a matter of grasping the purely conventional meanings of musical symbols, what is it? To take the simplest and most basic item of musical experience, the movement from dissonance to consonance, for example, from the dominant seventh to its resolution on a tonic chord, I think the only possible answer is that harmonic transition evokes or arouses certain intentional feelings or emotions in the listener.

Standard Emotivism.

The

most

2

common

contrasting

view

of

music's expression of emotion is the standard evocation view, which is sometimes labelled emotivism, and sometimes as an arousalist view. Again moved by Hanslickian thoughts, proponents of this view argue that since music, as a non-conceptual art, cannot express a thought about an object, something which seems to be necessary if what is expressed is to be emotion, what it evokes are more like moods, states of feeling without any clear

Retrospect object,

about

`everything'

or

`nothing',

something

147

essentially

non-intentional. Sometimes this view looks to be a development of the behavioural resemblance view, since, or so it seems, the power of music to evoke these putative moods or non-intentional feelings rests on the perceived similarity between musical and expressive human gestures. In so far as the view rests on the behavioural resemblance view, it can be discounted straightaway, though we shall come back to this variant of the position a little later. We also have to ask in due course what, for proponents of the emotivist view, the power of music to evoke the putative non-intentional feelings can rest on if not on some perceived resemblance to human expressive behaviour. That aside, the view suffers from a catastrophic flaw: the putative feelings have no essential connection with the music that arouses them. They are the contingent effects of listening to music, that is all. The suggestion that such feelings, unlike the feelings produced by a drug, for example, mirror the structure of the music cannot be sustained: non-intentional feelings cannot mirror anything. Further, such feelings must inevitably be the main object of attention, rather than the music itself. We may, of course, have an interest in these feelings as conveyed to us by a certain musical structure, but nothing in the emotivist position establishes that, in responding to music, we necessarily have this extra layer of interest. A variant of this view seems to have an answer to this problem (the `separable experience' problem). It claims that the feelings which are aroused by music are akin to sympathetic or empathetic responses as if to another person. Such feelings do seem essentially connected to their object. However, the view is multiply incoherent. If the feelings aroused by music are supposedly nonintentional, as it is claimed that they are, they cannot be feelings of sympathy or empathy. Further, it is highly implausible to suggest that we feel sympathetically to anything which is not a person in the way we respond to a person. Last, the ground of this suggested sympathetic or empathetic response looks, once again, to be a putative

resemblance

between

musical

and

human

expressive

gestures. There can be no such resemblance.

A Revised Emotivism, and Why Hanslick is Wrong. The mishandling of

this

topic

in

contemporary

writing

on

music

might

seem

148

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

surprising, since it is very plausible to claim that the truth about music's power to express emotion lies very much on the surface. That

it

has

not

been

accepted

indicates

the

hold

which

the

fundamentally flawed Hanslickian/cognitivist view of emotion has on contemporary thinking. I list what seem to me to be certain basic and connected truths:

1.

Music expresses emotion in the sense that it evokes or arouses it in

2.

That power to evoke emotion is not a matter of perceived resem-

the sensitive listener.

blance to human expressive behaviour, but of what are experienced as the tensions and relaxations in the melodic/harmonic progress of the music. 3.

These tensions and relaxations are grounded in the physical nature of sound: in such features as the harmonic series, and the phenomenon of `beating'. Such features as that of equal temperament clearly depart from the strictly acoustical facts, but these developments are intelligible and well motivated and give no support to talk of `arbitrary conventions'.

4.

The expressive power of music is not a matter of the evocation of moods, still less of completely non-intentional states of feeling, but of fully intentional states of feeling, whose object is a musical feature. Music evokes or arouses fully-fledged (`garden-variety') emotional attitudes directed to musical events and states. We expect, hope for, even yearn for, a certain musical outcome, and are delighted by, feel triumphant about, even wallow in, its realisation, or are disappointed or sad if its fails to be realised. These are emotional attitudes of exactly the sort which might be directed to an object in ordinary extramusical life.

Acceptance of what I have called the Hanslickian/cognitivist conception of emotion, the conception which has dominated contemporary

writing

on

the

aesthetics

of

music,

makes

it

impossible to recognise these truths. We can express the essence of the Hanslickian view in the following points. First, it is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition of having an emotion that one makes an evaluative judgement about an object of attention. Second, music is a non-conceptual art, and therefore has no way of

representing

or

expressing

a

thought

about

an

object,

or

indeed of describing or identifying such an object. Therefore, third, music cannot express emotions (though it may express moods). These claims are wholly misguided. Again, I respond to them

Retrospect

149

with a list of truths which, I hope, will now appear as fairly obvious.

1.

Making an evaluative judgement about an object is not a necessary condition of having an emotion. One may yearn or crave for, or be afraid of, an object, or love a particular person, but these emotional attitudes do not imply any explicit or complex evaluation, though they sometimes serve as the basis for some evaluation. Sometimes, however, one may acknowledge that one's fear or love is directed to an object which is not actually dangerous or not actually worthy of love, but continue to feel these intentional attitudes nonetheless.

2.

Even if one were to allow that having an emotion involves the exercise of a conceptual ability, or having a propositional attitude, it would not follow that music must possess some quasi-conceptual means of expressing or representing a thought if it is to express emotion. All that would be required is that music evokes or arouses that essentially propositional mental act or state.

3.

The

claim

that

music

would

have

to

possess

some

means

of

describing or identifying a putative object of emotion if it is to express emotion is also a confusion. Music expresses emotion by evoking or arousing emotions whose intentional objects are musical events. The notion that music itself would need to identify or describe such objects is completely confused. What music does is to evoke feeling directed to such objects, and, in some cases at least, provide the objects, though often the intentional object of the emotion aroused by music differs from what the music actually provides. 4.

The experience of tension and relaxation, which everyone accepts is basic to our musical experience, is so essentially intentional that only the grip exerted by Hanslickian confusion could prevent one from recognising that such experience is experience of emotion, whose intentional object is always a musical event or feature.

The Standard Cognitivist View of Emotion and its Failure. Acceptance of the view of emotion common to Hanslick and the contemporary cognitivist analysis would make it impossible to come to a coherent account of what it is for music to express emotion. Yet we may feel that contemporary cognitivist accounts must be fundamentally correct, and that therefore talk of music expressing emotion remains very suspect. But in fact the cognitivist analysis of emotion is deeply flawed. The treatment of music's power to express emotion points to a conception of emotion quite different from the predominant cognitivist/judgementalist account. Here are some initial reasons why:

150

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

1.

The conception of emotion as essentially constituted by the entertaining of evaluative beliefs or judgements together with some sort of feeling, standardly construed as the bodily effect of judgement, renders the appearance of such feelings deeply mysterious, since they are supposedly caused by intrinsically cool judgements, no more imbued with feeling than is the judgement `the cat is on the mat'.

2.

The power of evaluative judgements to produce these feelings is not only mysterious, but also erratic, since the very same judgements can sometimes be made without producing feeling at all.

3.

This conception of emotion reduces feeling

to the status of an

inessential byproduct of judgement; this is so whether feeling is thought of as an effect of judgement or as a sort of affective gloss on judgement. This is a view which is wholly untenable.

A full understanding of just why the conception of feeling as an inessential byproduct won't do must wait on an examination of two intentional states of consciousness which are very closely related to emotion, those of desire and of pleasure. Other attempts to show why affect is essential to emotion seem to me unsuccessful. For example, it is easy enough to protest against the view that affect is not essential to emotion by claiming that an emotion such as rage is

necessarily

a state of feeling, but this point supports only

the conclusion that we would not call an emotion rage unless it were imbued with strong feeling. That does nothing to show that such feeling is essential to our viewing the object of our disapprobation in a certain way; it is conceivable that we could make all the same judgements about the object of our rage in a state of cool anger, and that such judgements would lead us to the same course of conduct as issues from our rage. The claim under discussion reduces to no more than a linguistic point: we do not call an intentional state one of rage unless it is characterised by feeling. That claim is perfectly compatible with the view, explicitly argued for by some cognitivists, that feeling is not an essential aspect of emotion. Another attempt to show why affect is essential to emotion, which

strikes

me

as

equally

unsuccessful,

has

been

made

by

Oakley. He attempts to give feeling (`affectivity') a causal role, but it is not clear to me that he succeeds. Emotions on his analysis are

a

combination

of

judgement,

desire

and

affectivity

in

a

dynamical relation. Someone judging coolly cannot be expected to act as one who really has care and concern. `Failing to do what one believes good is a natural consequence of lacking emotions

Retrospect

151

such as care, concern, interest, sympathy, compassion and courage.'

3

The trouble with this is that while no one can doubt that

someone who genuinely cares, or acts with concern, sympathy or compassion, will act with a consistency with which someone who does not care will not, it is quite unclear that what transforms cool judgement

and/or

desire

into

a

state

which

will

consistently

motivate one is the addition of `affectivity'. Being serious about something does not look as if it is explained by the addition of some apparently non-intentional state of feeling. What is missing, it seems to me, is any explanation of just why it is that the cool thought of something as good or desirable, plus the cool desire to do what is good, isn't enough. It may well be true that someone who genuinely feels deeply about something will be more likely to act in a consistent and reliable way with regard to the object of his concern, but it remains unclear why feeling deeply about something is to be construed as what is brought about if you add affectivity to judgement and desire. How is it, one must ask, that adding some sort of state of feeling to a thought and desire brings about

a

strength

of

will,

an additional

motivation,

otherwise

lacking? Malcolm Budd is rightly critical of the standard cognitivist view of emotion, arguing that the feelings of amusement, anger, envy, fear, hope, pity, pride, regret or shame are not bodily sensations, though we often feel various processes taking place in our body. `Rather, it is an experience of satisfaction or frustration, pleasure or pain.'

4

I think this is on the right lines, but it is radically

underdeveloped on two central points. First, such experiences of satisfaction or frustration, pleasure or pain, have not been shown to be essential to human experience or motivation. This view looks

to be

quite compatible

with

the

claim that

a standard

cognitivist such as Shaffer makes that feeling is a dispensable element of emotion, and has no essential role in the explanation of motivation. Second, nothing is said about the nature of pleasure or pain. There is a hint that Budd thinks of these as states of

intentional feeling; at least, he talks of experiencing displeasure at a certain prospect, but the hint is not developed.

Desire, Pleasure and Emotion, and the Place of Intentional Feeling. The failure of these attempts to show how feeling has a place in the structure of emotion lends support to the view, for which I have

152

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

argued,

that

the

essential

role

of

feeling

can

be

more

easily

brought out by considering the related notions of desire and of pleasure in the first place, and then coming back to the notion of emotion. The notion of intentional feeling, of feeling towards, is essential in the analysis of desire, of pleasure and displeasure, and of emotion itself. The crucial points are:

1.

Desire for ends whose value consists in their being objects of desire (reason-providing, or `r-p' desire) must, in their fundamental form, be states of feeling towards. To reject the idea of intentional feeling here

is

to

reduce

our

choices

to

no

more

than

arbitrary

and

motiveless whims. We may assess our desires and get them in an order of priority, but the desires which are thus ordered or chosen between

are

not

consciousness,

themselves

and

present

chosen:

they

themselves

present

with

a

themselves

certain

degree

in of

warmth or intensity; an appetite can be anything from a mild desire to an intense craving. It should go without saying that any attempt to offer a behaviourist account of these desires is doomed to failure. Equally, the thesis that desire can be construed as a form of belief, which has been discussed in the recent literature on desire, can only be argued for in relation to reason- following desire. In relation to reason-providing desire, it has no plausibility at all. Finally, the thesis that the self-ascription of desire as a form of self-interpretation is part of a Davidson-inspired irrealist conception of the mental which, it seems to me, clashes with what I have claimed is the fundamental fact that many of our desires are

given

in consciousness as intentional/

affective states. 2.

Pleasure also is a state of feeling towards. The value of some of our ends is bestowed on them by the fact we take pleasure in them. Pleasure is not a non-intentional state of feeling, and therefore cannot be what, for example, Sidgwick thought it was, a state of feeling which is the only thing which has ultimate or intrinsic value. Neither r-p

desire

judgement

nor or

pleasure evaluation

can plus

be

construed

some

sort

of

as

a

conjunction

dispensable

of

affective

overlay. 3.

The analysis of emotion

must

follow that of r-p desire and of pleasure,

if only because these latter are essential constituents of emotion, whether singly or jointly.

It is possible, of course, to desire something deemed to have objective value quite coolly, to come to a cool positive evaluation of something without experiencing a feeling of pleasure, and to make a judgement typical of a particular emotion without emotional warmth. It is crucial to realise that this gives no credence to

153

Retrospect

the view that when such judgements or evaluations are made in the context of a fully affective state of consciousness they are in fact cool judgements to which is added some sort of affective overlay. The fundamental point is as follows:

1.

In contrast to the standard cognitivist view, the correct view sees evaluatively characterised states of affairs as typical objects of intentional

feeling. The object of emotion, that is, may be, simply, an object in the world for which one yearns, for example, or a person whom one loves, even though, perhaps, one's cool evaluation of that person is wholly negative. But where evaluative beliefs and judgements are part of the structure of an emotion, they do not appear as propositional attitudes, the entertaining of which causes some non-intentional state of feeling; rather, the evaluatively characterised state of affairs is the object of intentional feeling: one feels positively or pleasurably about, say, the fact that one's achievement is admirable, or with pain and displeasure about the fact that what one did was worthy of condemnation. One may acknowledge these truths quite coolly, of course, but where emotion enters the picture the evaluatively characterised situation becomes the object of intentional feeling.

2. The crucial ways in which the account of emotion I have given differs from the standard judgementalist construal are therefore, first, that the feeling posited is intentional feeling, as contrasted with the standard view's conception of feeling as non-intentional, usually some sort of bodily feeling; second, that such feeling is essential to an understanding of motivation and value, whereas the standard view implies, as some proponents of this view have seen, that feeling is incidental and dispensable; and, third, that the object of intentional feeling is often an evaluatively characterised state of affairs, a view which

again

entertaining

contrasts of

with

judgement

the

or

standard

evaluation

view, as

the

which cause

sees of

the

(non-

intentional) feeling.

This

analysis

of

emotion

allows

us

to

resolve

a

particular

problem for the standard cognitivist view, the problem that on this view the relation between any particular emotion-judgement and its attendant quality of feeling is a contingent one, thus allowing the bizarre possibility of judgements typical of triumph or elation being linked to feelings typical of despair. The notion of emotions as indivisible intentional/affective states of consciousness does not allow this possibility to arise.

What is it for Music to Express Emotion? We have been led to develop this view of the nature of emotion initially through

154

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

coming to recognise that the current accounts of what it is for music to express emotion are all deeply unsatisfactory, and that what underlies this inadequacy is precisely the acceptance of the standard `cognitivist' analysis of emotion, as anticipated by Hanslick and developed by contemporary writers on emotion. Given the very different conception of the nature of emotion that I have tried to make clear, we can return to the question of what it is for music to express emotion. We can set out the implications of this account of the nature of emotion for the question of music's power to express emotion in the following claims:

1.

Once

the

place

of

judgement

or

evaluation

in

the

structure

of

emotion has been understood, we can see that evaluatively characterised

states

of

affairs

appear

as

possible

objects

of

emotional

feeling, but that there are others. In the context of musical experience,

the

object

of

intentional

feeling

is

not

some

evaluatively

characterised situation, but musical states and events. Let us remind ourselves that in ordinary extra-musical life emotion need not be directed towards an evaluatively characterised situation either. Let us also remind ourselves that warm, reason-providing desire

cannot

be

directed towards an evaluatively characterised state of affairs, since such feeling serves as the 2.

ground

of evaluation.

The common conception that understanding a musical gesture is like understanding a human expressive gesture where we are ignorant of the

object

of

this

gesture

(Scruton,

et

al.)

rests,

first,

on

the

Hanslickian/cognitivist conception of emotion, but also on a misconstrual of the fact that music, in evoking feeling directed to musical events, can serve also as a representation of patterns of emotional experience in life where no particular object is specified. But this ability

of music

to

evoke patterns

different contexts, whatever

of

feeling

their object,

common to many

should not

be seen

as

lending support to the view that the feelings evoked by music do not have particular objects ± that is, they are about `everything or nothing'. 3.

Mendelssohn was right to claim that the feelings evoked by music are often too `definite', too subtle and refined in their complexity, for words to capture. The commonly met claim that music can express only `rough-grained' emotion (Kivy, et al.) embodies an extraordinary misrepresentation of our musical experience.

4.

Sometimes our classification of emotions in terms of their judgemental content does not correspond with a particular quality of feeling. There may, for example, be no pattern of intentional feeling which distinguishes embarrassment from shame. In this case, our classification of emotions in terms of their judgemental content is not isomorphic with a classification in terms of distinctive intentional

155

Retrospect

feeling. This lends no support whatever to the view that music is capable only of expressing rough-grained emotion. The truth, rather, is that the pattern or balance of intentional feeling evoked by music, precise and subtle as it may be, may not always correspond to a classification of emotion in terms of judgemental content. 5.

Our emotional response to music is, standardly, a pleasurable one. To see pleasure as a variety of intentional feeling allows us to see how the experience

of

pleasure

fits

into

the

general

conception

of

our

emotional response to music that I have developed. By contrast, to suppose that what music evokes are moods or objectless feelings commits one to one or other of two equally unappealing views: pleasure is either a further non-intentional state of feeling to be ranked alongside the other feelings evoked by music, or it is an intentional state of feeling whose objects are the objectless moods aroused by music. Either way, there can be no necessary connection between one's experience of pleasure and the music which gives rise to it. The correct view is that the emotions evoked by music are necessarily directed to the music, and that such emotions are varieties of pleasure (or, in extreme cases, pain). 6.

Finally, everything shows that the only way to understand what it is for music to express emotion is that it

arouses

emotion, and that this

power to arouse emotion cannot be seen as grounded on learning the meanings of musical terms as one learns the meaning of the expressions in our language. Grasping the expressive power of music cannot be a matter of learning the meanings of musical terms, where such meaning is taken to be ascribed by convention.

Postscript: Emotion and Some Contemporary Accounts of Self-knowledge.

To see the notion of intentional feeling as fundamental not

only to our understanding what it is for music to express emotion, but, more broadly, to the notions of warm, reason-providing desire, of pleasure, and thus to an understanding of value and human motivation, is to accept a view which looks to be in conflict with certain influential views in contemporary philosophy of mind. I am thinking of the idea that the self-ascription of mental states is importantly on a par with the ascription of mental states to others, a matter of coming to a certain interpretation of the data, or the employment of a certain theory. I think this position, of which Davidson and Dennett are leading exponents, is open to fundamental criticism.

5

I simply want to point out that

this sort of view can have no regard for what I have claimed is the fundamental role of intentional feeling in human consciousness and behaviour. To acknowledge the role of affectivity, of intentional feeling, in human experience and conduct is to reject the

156

Philosophy, Music and Emotion

notion

that

self-ascription

is

a

sort

of

interpretation,

if

only

because the notion of feeling or affectivity is inseparable from the notion of what is immediately given to consciousness. Crispin Wright has argued against the claim that, as he puts it, `the intentional state is, typically, salient to consciousness, and directly recognised by the subject for what it is'

6

I think the notion of

intentional feeling compels one to adopt this very notion, but detailed argument for this claim cannot be provided here. Towards the end of Chapter 5 I mentioned Michael Stocker's claim that much contemporary philosophy of mind `is inadequate, and pathologically so. It omits, denies or radically misunderstands affectivity or feeling.' I hope that what I have argued both lends support

to

this

assessment

and

also

goes

some

way

towards

rectifying the situation that provoked this assessment.

Notes 1.

Kivy,

as

I

noted

in

Chapter

1,

argues

obscurely

that

the

apparently

conventional status of harmony was originally a matter of contour or behavioural resemblance. I shall not say anything more about this claim, which I find quite impenetrable. 2.

Scruton

also

argues

that

understanding

music

cannot

be

a

matter

of

grasping a set of purely conventional meanings, noting that `the meaning of a piece of music is given not by convention, but by perception' (

Aesthetics of Music

The

, p. 210). In spite of the many excellent discussions in this

book, I find Scruton's own account of what the nature of this perception is, and what it might be grounded on, very unclear. What undermines the overall argument is the same as what undermines so much contemporary discussion in this field: the acceptance of a view of the nature of emotion that Hanslick outlined and, in a famous but confused argument, used to attack the possibility that music could express emotion, a view of emotion which is consonant with contemporary `cognitivist' accounts. This view leads Scruton to dismiss as an `elementary error' the suggestion that music evokes emotion. I argue against this claim in the text. Here I simply want to point out that to dismiss the suggestion that music evokes emotion is to dismiss the only clear answer to the question: what is the ground of our understanding that music can express emotion? What exactly can it be to perceive the expressive power of a musical phrase if this is neither a matter of convention nor a matter of that phrase standardly evoking emotion in the sensitive listener? 3.

J. Oakley,

4.

M.

Budd,

Morality and the Emotions `Emotion',

in

D.

(London: Routledge, 1992), p. 53.

Cooper

(Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), p. 137.

(ed.),

A Companion to Aesthetics

Retrospect 5.

157

See Richard Moran's paper, `Interpretation Theory and the First Person',

Philosophical Quarterly, 1994, for a good statement of some of these difficulties. 6.

C. Wright, `Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy of Mind: Sensation, Privacy, and Intention', Journal of Philosophy, 1989, p. 630.

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Sensation,

Index

arousalism

see emotivism

of self-knowledge, 155±6 as state of intentional feeling,

Bach, J. S., 11±12

Barber of Seville, overture to, 100

of, 5±6, 8, 63, 67±9, 106±7,

Bedford, E., 134

149±51

Beethoven, L., 10, 11, 126±7

having evaluatively characterised

Bernstein, L., 143n

states of affairs as objects,

Brentano, F., 109, 118, 128 Budd, M., 7, 32, 59, 143n, 151

cognitivist theory of emotion

see

emotion, cognitivist or judgementalist view of convention

48±9 cognitive or judgementalist view

see expression of

emotion in music, and convention; tonality, as set of conventions

106±9 nature of, 105±20

see also expression of emotion in music, and nature of emotion emotivism, 29±42, 146±7 evocation theory

see emotivism

expression of emotion in music and animation of musical gestures, 25±7

Cooke, D., 22±3

and arousal of object-directed

Davidson, D., 120n

and arousal of objectless feelings,

feeling, 50±1, 56±65, 147±9

Davies, S., 21, 24 Delius, F., 57

8, 31±9, 61, 63, 91, 99, 146±7 and complex and competing

desire and intentional feeling, 69±80, 151±3 and value, 69±72, 76 distinction between reason following and reason providing types of, 69±71, 96, 102±4 Donington, R., 23

emotions, 135±7 and convention, 10±25, 62±3, 145±6 and nature of emotion, 118±20, 153±5 and negative emotion, 140±2 based on resemblance to human expressive behaviour (contour), 8, 10, 12±17, 64, 99, 145

emotion affective and intentional components of, 111±18 and some contemporary accounts

161

in musical and non-musical contexts, 124±9 involving a sympathetic or

162

Philosophy, Music and Emotion empathetic response, 39±40,

Mendelssohn, F., 8, 126

44n

Meyer, L., 61

involving identification with the music, 40±1, 53±4, 57, 138±40

Mill, J. S., 89 Moran, R., 157n

Frankfurt, H., 75

Oakley, J., 150±1

Greenspan, P., 6, 107±8, 125

pleasure, 82±101, 103±4 and our experience of music, 89±91, 98±101

Hamlyn, D., 108, 123 Hanslick, E., 6±7, 8, 9, 29±30, 31, 45±50, 51±3, 121±2, 129±32,

see

as mode of warm desire, 97±8, 152

144±5, 147±9 hedonism

as mode of attention, 92±5

pleasure, hedonistic

hedonistic view of, 70, 83±9 Putnam, D., 132±3

view of Helm, B., 81n heresy of the separable experience,

Radford, C., 50 Ridley, A., 37, 39, 43n

32, 56±7, 90, 99 Hume, D., 85, 87±9, 92±3, 112,

Robinson, J., 65n, 65±6n, 81n Ryle, G., 92±3

120n

intentional/affective states of consciousness

see

intentional

Schiffer, S., 69±70, 73, 84, 93 Scruton, R., 7, 9, 25, 28n, 30±1, 41±2, 43n, 46±7, 49, 122,

feeling intentional feeling, 69±80, 97±8,

128±9 Sharpe, R., 27±8n

101±2

Sidgwick, H., 84±5, 89, 92, 95, judgementalist analysis of emotion

see

emotion, cognitivist or

judgementalist view of

97 Solomon, R., 68±9, 81n Spinoza, B., 125 Stocker, M., 78, 156 Stravinsky, I., 24

Karl, G., 65n Keller, H., 60 Kivy, P., 7, 9±18, 25, 26, 29, 36, 40±1, 62, 133, 156n

tonality as set of conventions, 19±21 non-conventional ground of,

Leighton, S., 113±14, 120n Levinson, J., 32, 37±9, 45, 54n,

21±5

Tristan

, Prelude to, 8, 51, 59, 126

54±5n, 58

Mahler, G.,

Adagietto

Warner, R., 96±7 from Fifth

Symphony, 100, 126, 127±8 Matravers, D., 33±7

Wittgenstgein, L., 109±10 Wright, C., 156