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Plato on the Philosophical Benefits of Musical Education

In: Phronesis
Author: Naly Thaler1
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I argue that musical education in Plato’s Republic is not aimed at developing a moral discriminatory faculty in the spirited part, but rather that its benefits are predominantly intellectual, and become fully apparent only at the philosophical stage of the guardians’ education. In order to prove this point, I discuss the intellectual state which the guardians’ philosophical education is meant to bring about, and then show why it is dependent on the earlier cognitive effects of musical education. Ultimately, I show that musical education allows guardians to provide a unified analysis of both culture and nature.

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