Plato on the Philosophical Benefits of Musical Education

In: Phronesis

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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  • 7

    See e.g. Kamtekar 2008who attributes to spirit’s judgments ‘a striking degree of complexity’ (328) and claims that ‘although pre-rational the education seems to have given the guardians sophisticated moral and aesthetic capabilities’ (335).

  • 9

    For this claim see Gill 1985117-18; Kamtekar 1998 334; Lear 2006 115.

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