Heinrich Schenker’s Epistemology and Philosophy of Music: an Essay on the Relations Between Evolutionary Theory and Music Theory

  • Jamie Croy Kassler
Part of the Australasian Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 2)


Two principal theories have been adopted to explain the evolution of ideas. One theory is the selective theory, which is indebted to the biology of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and the psychology of Herbert Spencer (1820–1903). This theory holds that in the process of the evolution of ideas, the chief cause of transmutation consists in natural selection. The principle of natural selection explains what happens as an outcome of accidental and orderly events combined, by positing that the evolution of ideas occurs through a series of accidents added one to another, each new accident being preserved by selection if it is advantageous to the sum of former advantageous accidents which the present form of an idea represents. The other theory is the dialectical theory, which is indebted to the nature philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) and to the idealist philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831). This theory holds that in the process of the evolution of ideas, the chief cause of development is the resolution of a supposed tension or conflict between polar ideas, in which resolution of the conflict is achieved by means of synthesis. There is yet another theory, however, and this is the creative theory of evolution. It is a version of the creative theory that is the subject of this essay.


Ultimate Reality Linear Progression Musical Composition Phenomenal World Music Theory 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company Dordrecht, Holland 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie Croy Kassler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New South WalesAustralia

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