Monday, September 26, 2011

Emotions V. Feelings

The difference between Emotions and Feelings appears in the prerequisite for what makes an emotional state versus what makes a feeling. To have an emotion is to have a reason for that emotion, i.e., I am happy because I had a good day, or I am sad because I have had a bad day. To say that I feel happy or sad but I don't have a reason or don't know what my reason is would be to simply have a feeling. I feel happy, or rather, the emotional state that I am in reminds me of happiness. There is a necessary difference between these two when speaking about music. Because music cannot possess an emotional state (the music cannot be happy or sad because it does not possess the consciousness to be happy or sad), we are simply speaking metaphorically when we say whether it is happy or sad, i.e., "The music is upbeat, and it makes me feel happy" or "The music itself is not happy, but it reminds me of when I feel happy, so I feel happy by listening to it". The language used here is very important to understanding the difference between emotions and feelings, especially in relation to music, and contributes to the overall understanding of how we can distinguish that which can make us react a certain way from that which possesses the inherent quality of being that reaction itself.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bridge between "Truth" and "Aesthetics"

It seemed to me in class this last week that we had two discussions that raised similar points, one about "truth" and one about "aesthetics". These arguments are similar because of a common lack of a solid definition in philosophy. We said that philosophy is a passion for seeking the truth in all subjects, and yet, asking the question, "What is truth?" is too loaded to properly answer. We looked at aesthetics in the same way, knowing what aesthetics are without being able to give a concise answer to the question, "What are aesthetics?"

I raise this point because I find it interesting that we all have different concepts about what makes truth "truth" and what makes aesthetics "aesthetics", and while admitting that it may not be possible to come up with a definition that everyone can agree on for either, we must continue forward and assume a common ground by identifying those things that are not "truth" or "aesthetics" to the best of our ability when it is asserted that they are.

My question then is, "Is this what makes art?" It seems to me that art, a kind of reflection on human emotion and society, also seems incredibly difficult to define, and so it may be that art is an attempt to express the indefinable nature of "truth" and "aesthetics" by explaining them in a less direct manner. A painting can capture the "true" human emotion of what we see, while music can capture the "true" human emotion of what we hear, and writing what we think, etc., but they are only effective when they meet our "aesthetic" expectations. Can an artwork really because considered "art" if it does not?

I want to know if this attempt at describing how I view art makes sense, or if I'm committing some kind of fallacy by saying, "Well, we don't know this, and we don't know that, so we do this to do that."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Introduction for the Semester

Hello, I am Sean Simmons, a Junior at MCLA, who is currently majoring in Fine and Performing Arts with a Concentration in Music, as well as a minor in philosophy. I have been playing guitar for eight years and studying music theory for five. I hope to someday be a music teacher, for either advanced music theory or private lessons in guitar. I have decided to study philosophy while at MCLA because I believe that it is helpful in all disciplines to have both good reasoning and an open mind, two skills philosophy helps one to attain.
I hope that by taking this class, I will begin to understand the deeper meanings behind music and how/why certain elements exist in this branch of arts.