Music, grief, and philosophy

Finding solace in sound

Socrates thought philosophy’s role was to prepare us for death. But what about the death of our loved ones? Philosophers have had surprisingly little to say about the experience and meaning of grief. In this interview, Kathleen Higgins rights that wrong and argues that grief has a deep connection to art, especially music, in the way it disrupts but also reorients our relationship to the world and others.

 

Kathleen, your work has focused on a philosophical analysis of grief and aesthetics. This is not a field you would find addressed in most modern day philosophy textbooks. What drew you to this area and why did you think it was an appropriate place for philosophical analysis?

The experience of grieving is what first drew me to the topic.  I was surprised at the discrepancy between what I experienced and what I would have predicted it would be like.  I was also amazed at how frequently aesthetic gestures and activities seemed to be in

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