In 1870, Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-1883) wrote an essay to celebrate the centennial of Beethoven’s birth. In this essay Wagner made the case that music is, unlike any other object we create or are attentive to in experience, in an immediate analogical relationship with the activity of the Schopenhauerian “will” and is always enlivened. By drawing on this idea, we can not only conceive of music as in an immediate analogical relationship with our personal experience, but as perhaps the only object of cognition that is in a constant state of personal vitality. It is by that very continuous vitality that it can return us to our own personhood with deeper insight and perspective. The essay concludes by exploring how attending to the musical object as a spiritual (existential) exercise might reconnect us to our roots in sensus communis, educate us on our common personhood, and play an ethical role in our lives.
Richard Wagner, Arthur Schopenhauer, philosophy of music, spiritual exercise, German Idealism, Process Philosophy, Personalism
How to cite:
Kramer, Eli. “Meditating on the Vitality of the Musical Object: A Spiritual Exercise Drawn from Richard Wagner’s Metaphysics of Music.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 3(9) (2019): 29-42. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0029.
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
Adorno, Theodor. In Search of Wagner. Translated by Rodney Livingstone. New Edition. Foreword by Slavoj Žižek. Radical Thinkers Series. London and New York: Verso, 2009.
Auxier, Randall and Gary Herstein. The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism. New York: Routledge, 2017. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315204925.
Bergson, Henri. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. Translated by Frank Lubecki Pogson. New York: Dover Publications, 2001.
Bonds, Mark Evans. “Idealism and the Aesthetics of Instrumental Music at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 50, no. 2/3 (1997): 387-420. https://doi.org/10.2307/831839.
Dahlhaus, Carl. Richard Wagner’s Music Dramas. Translated by Mary Whitthall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.
Deathridge, John. “Introduction.” In Wagner Handbook, edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski. Translated by John Deathridge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.
Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy as a Way of Life: From Socrates to Foucault. Edited by Arnold I. Davidson. Translated by Michael Chase. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1995.
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1987.
Kramer, Eli. “Utopia as the Gift of Ethical Genius: Ernst Cassirer’s Theory of Utopia.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 1(3) (April 2018): 96-108.
Kropfinger, Klaus. Wagner and Beethoven: Richard Wagner’s Reception of Beethoven. Translated by Peter Palmer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511627262.
Langer, Suzanne K. Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art Developed from Philosophy in a New Key. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953.
Magee, Bryan. The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2002.
Müller, Ulrich, and Peter Wapnewski, eds. Wagner Handbook. Translated by John Deathridge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Case of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and Selected Aphorisms. Translated by Anthony M Ludovici. Third Edition. Edinburgh and London: T.N. Foulis, 1911.
Reinhardt, Hartmut. “Wagner and Schopenhauer.” In Wagner Handbook, edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski. Translated by John Deathridge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Representation. Translated by E.F.J. Payne. Volume 2. New York: Dover Publications, 1969.
Shapshay, Sandra. “Schopenhauer’s Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art.” Philosophy Compass 7, no. 1 (January 2012): 11-22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-9991.2011.00453.x.
Sosnowska, Paulina. “The Reinforcement of Political Myth? Hans Blumenberg, Hannah Arendt and the History of the Twentieth Century.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 2 (8) (July 2019): 51-61. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0017.
Wagner, Richard. Beethoven. Translated by Albert R. Parsons. Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1872.
Wagner, Richard. My Life. Volume 1. Academia.edu, 2010.
Young, Julian. The Philosophies of Richard Wagner. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.
Open Access Statement:
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.