The Philosophy School of Phish has been offering “chalk dust without the torture” at Oregon State University since 2014. Registration is open for this year’s online course. Enroll now, as space is limited.
Through their music and live performances, the improvisational rock band Phish engages with ideas that are central to the history of philosophy. For example, their lyrics, holiday “gags,” interviews, and festivals exemplify imaginative, conceptual investigation through artistic expression. This course will use Phish’s concerts as field sites for exploring the philosophy of art and music. Students will study canonical theories about art and its meaning, from ancient to modern times. Due to COVID-19, virtual events will replace this course’s previous concert attendance requirement. Assignments will address questions such as:
- What is beauty?
- What emotions does art provoke?
- What is the role of music in a meaningful life?
- What is the relationship between music and politics?
Potential readings include:
- Jeanette Bicknell, Why Music Moves Us
- Michel Foucault, selected interviews
- Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgment
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy