A Third Reason Why Philosophy is The Best and Most Noble Music

Let’s see if we can make this argument quickly and effectively!

We have given two reason why Socrates said that “Philosophy Is The Best And Most Noble Music.”

We now present a third. Maybe there are more than three? But Three is enough!

Philosophy is the best and most noble music in so far as the purpose of music is to aid man in bringing his soul into harmony with reason. But this is what philosophy aims at in a higher and even more sublime way!

Therefore in comparison with music Philosophy might be said to be “the best and most noble music.”

Music like the other fine arts aims at a catharsis of the passions, as Aristotle points out specifically about Drama in his Poetics. The fine arts are various arts by which we are able to make our senses and imagination and the passions more reasonable.

Music has an obvious relationship to our passions. And so it is very easy to see that when we listen to beautiful music we are bringing at least part of our interior life into a more orderly and reasonable state.

But isn’t it obvious that this is what the philosopher aims to achieve?

We could probably do a better job making this reason clearer- but let’s avoid pedantry, for a change, and be done with it!

Thus our three reasons are:

  1. Philosophy really knows nature whereas music only imitates it (imitation being loosely a sort of “knowing”)
  2. Philosophy brings our souls into harmony with the truth. It brings the whole of our interior life into agreement with itself and with God whereas music brings about a harmony of sound.
  3. Philosophy aims to perfect man by bringing his whole soul into the service of reason whereas music aims more specific at bringing mans passions into the service of reason.

 Philosophy is The Best and Most Noble Music.





About marklangley

Presently, the founding Headmaster of Our Lady of Walsingham Academy in Colorado Springs (see www. OLWclassical.org), former headmaster and Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their children.
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