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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Bryan J. Parkhurst uses contemporary analytic normativist aesthetics as a lens through which to view Leftist/Marxian normative aesthetics of music appreciation. In order to do this, Parkhurst situates the key theses of Ernst Bloch’s theory of utopian musical listening within the framework of Kendall Walton’s theories of musical fictionality and emotionality. The aim of this task is to make Bloch’s fundamental position perspicuous enough that it can be assessed and evaluated. Parkhurst concludes that Bloch’s contention that music should be heard as a utopian allegory, and that the distinguished office of (Western classical) music is to contribute to the political project of the imagining of a better, more humane world (a “regnum humanum”), faces difficult objections.

Keywords: Ernst Bloch, Kendall Walton, music, aesthetics, normativity, allegory, imagination, utopia, Marxism, Theodor Adorno

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