University of Yale
Fellowship : January to June 2021
Discipline(s) : Philosophy
Pays : USA
This cross-disciplinary book project elucidates the bond between memory, music, and ethics (understood as care for the soul) by analysing their relationship to inner time-consciousness – i.e., to the flowing continuum of the soul, psuchē; it situates its arguments within the context of specific philosophical works of classical antiquity. The project is inspired by questions like: How could philosophers of antiquity ascribe to music – mousikē – such a rich range of extraordinary powers? For example, what was it about music that led them to describe it as being particularly influential upon memory? Furthermore, on what grounds could they link music with ethos (i.e., as the state of the soul)? Finally, how was it that philosophy itself could be described, by Plato, as “the highest kind of music [mousikē]” (Phaedo 61a)? Does philosophy have something to teach us about ethics (as care for the soul) not only through its concepts but, like music, through the performance of its claims?
Jessica Wiskus works at the intersection of music and philosophy, elucidating musical expression as a form of philosophical thinking. She is the author of The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature, and Music after Merleau-Ponty (University of Chicago, 2013), which develops “rhythm” as a philosophical notion. Her articles are published in Continental Philosophy Review, The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Research in Phenomenology, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Philosophy Today, Musiktheorie: Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, and Music Theory Spectrum (forthcoming), among other journals. She served as a Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (Aarhus, Denmark) from February 2017 – July 2018. At Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), she was a member of the faculty for nineteen years, where, as Professor of Music, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory and history as well as the philosophy of music, including courses listed with the Department of Philosophy. Currently, she holds an appointment as Scholar-in-Residence at the Simon Silverman Phenomenology Center at Duquesne.