What are some philosophical stances on art and its purpose? I know this is a broad question, but any sources or thoughts would be great.

I am particularly interested in music.

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    This book introduces Vienna and many important characters connected with it at a certain important time. Title: Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern : a companion to the second Viennese school, Author: Simms, Bryan R. , Publisher:Greenwood Press,Pub date:c1999.
    – Gordon
    May 11, 2018 at 1:50
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    A classic, Adorno, Brecht et. al. versobooks.com/books/127-aesthetics-and-politics Going back: Plato-Republic-Artists; Forward: Wagner-Nietzsche (Wagner didn't need any help, so influence was from Wagner to Nietzsche, while it lasted). Post WWI "feel" perhaps listen to Berg's Wozzeck. Info: muse.jhu.edu/article/546852/summary
    – Gordon
    May 11, 2018 at 1:58
  • I found this article tonight regarding Henri Bergson and possible influence on Schoenberg. mtosmt.org/issues/mto.15.21.4/mto.15.21.4.salley.html
    – Gordon
    May 11, 2018 at 3:51
  • Art does not have a single purpose. Music can make you dance, but painting won't.
    – rus9384
    May 11, 2018 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


Adorno might be interesting to you, but consider looking at certain composers who also “write” — Cage and Xenakis come to mind.

Attali’s Noise: The Political Economy of Music is also highly recommended in this vein.


I came up with a list of things that good music communicates. I'll repeat it here:


Emotion (or drama)

Imitation (of nature)

Bigness (or awe)

Virtuosity (of the performer)

Practical social functions (like dance or work songs)

Unifying social functions (like anthems)

Memory (or recognition)

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