Pragmatism, music and emotion: bridging the Organisational Aesthetics subject-object divide
This paper applies pragmatist aesthetics to a longstanding philosophical problem concerning how instrumental music affects the emotions. This use of pragmatism provides a way of bridging a subject-object divide that has plagued the discipline of Organisational Aesthetics (OA) since its inception. The preoccupation of organisational aestheticians with epistemological issues separates aesthetic experiences from the objects of those experiences. By contrast, we use an avowedly 'non-epistemological' variety of pragmatism, epitomised by the work of John Dewey, to overcome this divide. In so doing, we critique formalist philosophical treatments of the connection between music and emotion. Our paper places organisational studies of music on a firmer philosophical footing, and contributes to the contemporary pragmatist theory of aesthetics and emotions.
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