Think about the art you’ve enjoyed in your life: the novels, the television, the music, the poetry, the sculpture, the paintings—the list goes on. Now try to imagine a scenario in which none of this art had ever been made. What would we lose in a world like this?
We are months into a global crisis that has claimed at least 300,000 lives around the world and left many others feeling isolated and alone. Can the arts and humanities help us find comfort, connection, and a sense of common purpose in these difficult times? In particular, can philosophy?
When people talk about knowledge they usually mean what philosophers call “propositional knowledge”—knowledge of facts that can be articulated in language. But music can provide another kind of knowledge that cannot be expressed in language. It can provide experiential knowledge.
A lot of the popular culture we consume these days is produced and distributed by large studios and record companies. Should that worry us? Are doomed to mediocre music, television, and film? Or even worse: are we doomed to songs, shows, and movies that secretly serve a hegemonic propaganda machine?