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School of Social Sciences

Philosophy lecture
BA Philosophy
Develop the knowledge and analytical skills to examine today's biggest questions.

BA Philosophy

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Philosophy of Music

Unit code PHIL30632
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit examines some key topics in the analytic philosophy of music, including: the meaning of music; understanding music; performance values; authenticity in the performance of works of music; the expression of emotion in music; profundity in music; the ontology of music.


Pre Requisites: 40 PHIL credits or 40 credits of Music at Level 2.

40 PHIL credits at Level 2 or 40 Music credits at Level 2


This course unit aims to:

- introduce students to some of the most gripping questions in the philosophy of music (within the analytical tradition).
- help students to engage with these questions in a critical, cogent, imaginative, and scholarly way.
- enhance students' ability to present and discuss philosophical issues orally, and their ability to present philosophical ideas and arguments in written work.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate:

- knowledge and understanding of some of the central topics and texts of the philosophy of music in the analytical tradition.
- the ability to critically engage - in a cogent, scholarly and imaginative way - with these texts and topics.
- the ability to convincingly discuss these texts and topics orally.
- the ability to present in writing clear, cogent, sustained philosophical arguments, based on relevant background research.

Teaching and learning methods

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

2 x 3,000 word essays - worth 45% each
Tutorial performance - 10%

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Recommended reading

Aaron Ridley, Philosophy of Music: Themes and Variations (Edinburgh U.P., 2004).
R.A. Sharpe, Philosophy of Music: An Introduction (Acumen, 2004)
Peter Kivy, Introduction to a Philosophy of Music (Clarendon, 2002)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Julian Dodd Unit coordinator

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