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Cause, effect and purpose

Seminar ListAbstract • PreparationMain Text


Division of ideas into those which assume the validity of cause and effect, and 
accept the notion that these can be exploited purposefully, right down to those 
that deny the possibility of cause, effect or purpose.

Most ideas can fit somewhere in this continuum...

Since the enlightenment, the dominant view tended to be accepting of the 
validity of all three, although the Laplacian view that once the position and 
momentum of every particle was known, then everything could be calculated from 
that point on hinted at the possibility of pure determinism.  At the time, 
though, this might have simply indicated the presence and purpose of God, hence 
begging the question.  It also, from certain perspectives, hinted even more 
greatly at the power of man to control his environment.

In the arts, the idea that man was in control and would eventually understand 
and predict everything...  (although the romantics pursued an interest in less 
intellectual pursuits, in reality these often simply removed the purpose from 
the responsibility of science and replaced the latter with the concept of 'the 
hero' or 'the people', who henceforward struggled for and eventually retained 
both control and purpose.

Western music has virtually always recognised cause and effect and purpose, as 
typified by the principally western art of analysis.


Since the second world war, however, there have been significant developments in 
the use of chance and chaotic elements.  These have occurred principally in art 
music, but there have been strong elements, too, in popular musics.  While, 
apart from in the sixties, musically, pop has stayed militantly mainstream, loop 
based and security bound, the kaleidoscopic images that often accompany it are 
usually random and certainly without purpose...




Main Text

Main text (not usually available until after the lecture).