Music, Nature and Ineffability

Abstract

In the final chapter of his Ineffability and Religious Experience, Guy Bennett-Hunter proposes that the ineffable may be ‘bodied forth’ through works of art and ritual, and hence engage with our lives. By way of supporting this proposal, this paper discusses some relationships between experiences of music and of natural environments. It is argued that several aspects of musical experience encourage a sense of convergence or intimacy between human practice and nature. Indeed, these aspects suggest a codependence between culture and nature. The paper continues by proposing that a sense of this co-dependence fosters the further sense of cultural and environmental experience as an integrated whole whose ‘ground’ must be entirely mysterious and ineffable. It is concluded that, if this is right, then music and other cultural practices indeed bring the ineffable into engagement with human life.

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Correspondence to David E. Cooper.

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Cooper, D.E. Music, Nature and Ineffability. Philosophia 44, 1257–1266 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-015-9656-9

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Keywords

  • Ineffability
  • Music
  • Mystery
  • Nature