This conference will integrate the fields of music composition, philosophy and science to understand how theories of reason and the mind can be approached from creative, metaphysical and scientific standpoints and how these topics can be understood from various research perspectives. This conference will build on research- creation initiated by a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017-2018, presentations at the interdisciplinary annual conference of the Swiss Philosophical Society in September 2018 and discussions undertaken in the context of the Grieg Academy Composition Research Group in 2019. 

The question of reason and the mind has been dealt with in the fields of art, philosophy and science and this has given way to contemporary theories of emergence, e.g. by the Nobel-Price Winner in Physics Robert Laughlin. Emergence can be described as the condition of an entity having properties distinct from the properties of the parts of the system from which it emerges, an important concept within the theoretical framework of complex systems. While philosophers have described thinking, doing and perception as different “states of mind,” scientists have not only concerned themselves with the question of how intelligence in the universe is possible, but also how intelligence plays a role in the evolution and emergence of nature. Philosophers, such as Spinoza and Kant, regarded both philosophy and art not merely as rational modes of explanation but also as expressions of spirit (spiritus) and intelligence (Geist). Such questions of spirit also relate to new developments in physics and philosophy. A recent meeting at the Swiss Philosophical Society in September 2018 dealt specifically with these questions from philosophical, scientific and musical perspectives. The current proposal aims to build on this research, seeking to investigate how creative, metaphysical and scientific studies can serve to inform a more holistic understanding of the mind and intelligence. 

A concert, related to the conference, will occur on Nov. 9, 2019 at 15.30 in the Peer Gynt-salen, Grieghallen (more information below).

Conference Events

November 1, 2019 , Grieg Academy, Prøvesalen, Lars Hilles gate 3 
Christopher Senf, Department of Philosophy, University of Bergen, Session Moderator
15:00 Prof. Elhanan Yakira, Hebrew University Jerusalem: "Spinoza's Ontology of the Intellect"
16:00 Prof. Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy: “Parametric Composition in the Ethica Composition Cycle.”
17:00 Coffee Break
17:30 Dr. Grit Schwarzkopf, University of Heidelberg, “Was ist Teleologie?” 

November 2 
Grieg Academy, Gunnar Sævigs Sal, Lars Hilles gate 3 
Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy, Session Moderator
10:00 Prof. Gunnar Hindrichs: On Hanslick's proposition: "Composition is spiritual work on spiritually capable material."
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Prof. Arnulf Mattes, Grieg Academy: “Intoxicating Oscillations: Ernst Mach and Arnold Schoenberg”

Concerts and Performances

November 6, 2019
Norwegian Youth Chamber Music Festival
Atelier of Kjell Pahr-Iversen, Stavanger
Ethica, after Baruch Spinoza
Composition by Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy, University of Bergen
Choreography by Hagit Yakira, University of Stavanger
Paintings of Kjell Pahr-Iversen, Stavanger
Introductory lecture by Elhanan Yakira, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

November 9, 2019 15.30
Peer Gynt-salen, Grieghallen
Dániel Péter Biró: Ethica, after Baruch Spinoza
Works by Grieg Academy composition students Gunhild Seim, Lisa Braathen, Anders Hannevold and Bendik Savstad, involved in the Sounding Philosophy Worksop and other works by Knut Vaage.
BIT 20 Ensemble
Dániel Péter Biró, Trond Madsen, conductors

Conference Abstracts

Elhanan Yakira, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Spinoza's Ontology of the Intellect 
Spinoza's so-called "Mind-Body" theory is usually read within the Cartesian
problematique of the relations between body and thought. Spinoza's allegedly specific contribution to the conversation opened by Descartes is usually referred to as "Parallelism". Cartesian dualism is arguably still the main "paradigm" within which the contemporary discussions of the meaning of, say, Neurosciences' finding are held. Spinoza’s doctrine, however - or so I wish to claim - is not at all "parallelistic" and its position within the Cartesian legacy is iconoclastic or, as it were, that of an outsider insider. As modern (Cartesian or post-Cartesian) as it is, its real meaning, and value, can be appreciated only if read against the pre-modern, or Scholastic, tradition of what is often called "Noétique". This partial anti-modernism of Spinoza may very well be his most valuable contribution to our understating of the questions we wish discuss in the Bergen conference.

Dániel Péter Biró, Grieg Academy
Parametric Composition in the Ethica Composition Cycle
The Swiss Philosophical Society commissioned me to compose a Festakt-composition for their conference, entitled “What is Mind,” and this work was premiered in September 2018. This was part of a larger composition cycle, where I employ text from the philosophical work “Ethics” of Baruch Spinoza (1677). In this part of the composition cycle, I employed musical parameters in a way as to translate Spinoza’s theories of the mind and intelligence into a musical domain. I will discuss the production process involved in my compositional work and how this touches on questions of consciousness and the mind, as explored in Spinoza’s text.

Grit Schwarzkopf, University of Heidelberg
Was ist Teleologie? 
In this essay, teleology is restored as a central facet of philosophical inquiry. My argument is structured by three core problems, which illustrate that the question of Geist is based on the foundational question of telos, and that neither question can be answered without the other. This correlation pertains to the theory of emergence in physics. Thus, the discussion of these two philosophical questions can be important for the field of physics. 

Gunnar Hindrichs, University of Basel
On Hanslick’s Proposition "Composition is spiritual work on spiritually capable material."
Eduard Hanslick belongs to the foremost aestheticians of music in the 19th Century.  His treatise On the Musical-Beautiful is still a seminal text for the philosophy of music; most notably, Peter Kivy has traced his own project back to Hanslick’s thought.  On the other hand, Hanslick’s position is blamed by many for being formalist, and for being centred on an outdated, if not reactionary, model of the musical artwork.  Especially his claim that music consists of “sounding moving forms” has drawn criticism and scorn.  My talk suggests another approach to Hanslick. It argues that Hanslick’s position emphasizes musical form only in the context of the concepts of material, idea, and spirit.  

Arnulf Mattes, Grieg Academy
Empiriocriticism – Expressionism: On Schoenberg’s Reception of Ernst Mach
‘One has to express oneself!’ Schoenberg’s exclamatory remark to Kandinsky from 1911, became the motto of the ‘Viennese school’s’ musical modernism. In this talk, I will trace back the sources of Schoenberg’s enigmatic notion of the ‘Self’ to his reception of Ernst Mach’s ‘Analysis of sensations’ (1886).