I *love* music- it's what got into this headphone endeavor. You probably saw this coming, but I really like the pragmatist theory of beauty. To quote John Dewey (Art as Experience, p.15):
I remember something about experiments with infants which seemed to indicate that already at that tender age we have a sense of aesthetic appreciation. So it seems to be hardwired in our DNA.
However, I feel that Existentialism (being from Sweden, I prefer that name to Pragmatism) fails to focus on what creates our concept of the world - language. Without language and the level of abstraction we can attain through it, I cannot see it possible to do anything but lead a basic existence. But mankind does so much more than this besides basically being an animal.
I found an interesting parallel between Ludwig Wittgenstein and Laozi (Lao Tsu), the mythical figure who supposedly created taoism who supposedly lived in the 6th century BC. I find them both very interesting since they both talk about language itself. We take it for granted that language is an exact tool, but it is really very vague and has no connection with what can be called a "reality". Unfortunately I cannot see our intellect being able to work without the use of language.
Wittgenstein thought that language works when it comes to a strictly practical level, but as soon as we come into the realm of abstract concepts ("truth" and so on), we are lost. His solution in the preface of his work Tractatus is simply this:
It is fascinating to me that is basically mirrors what Laozi wrote about 2500 years earlier in Tao te ching:
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Laozi points out that language and our thoughts functions through opposites.
Now, this is a modern translation of a 2500 year old Chinese work, so we are again faced with the inexactness that language gives us.
I write this since my impression is that this thread is basically just a matter of different people using abstractions as something absolute. While people think they are discussing actual things they are just arguing about the words and concepts themselves.
Our thoughts are chained to our language...
Edited by Danneq - 5/29/10 at 8:50am