Aesthetic properties

Document Type

Book chapter

Source Publication

Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music

Publication Date


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Last Page





Obviously, an aesthetic property can be ascribed to a musical work as a whole, to a more or less distinct part of it (for example, a passage, movement, or theme), or to a performance of the work. In the philosophical literature, many questions have been raised regarding the nature, reality, and attribution of aesthetic properties. To mention but a few: What distinguishes aesthetic properties from other kinds of properties? Do such properties exist? Are there objective grounds for attributing them to a work? In what follows, however, the focus will be on questions that concern specifically the aesthetic properties of music. In particular: What determines whether a musical piece has a certain aesthetic property? Is music capable of having emotional properties such as sadness? Are there aesthetic properties that music is incapable of having? These questions will be taken in turn in the following three sections.

Additional Information

ISBN of the source publication: 9780415858397



Recommended Citation

De Clercq, R. (2011). Aesthetic properties. In T. Gracyk & A. Kania (Eds.), Routledge companion to philosophy and music (pp.144-154). New York: Routledge.

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