Music and the Cosmos

June 3, 2017 - June 4, 2017
Queens' College, Cambridge

United Kingdom


  • The Mind Association
  • British Society for the History of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge (William Barclay Squire Fund)
  • Royal Musical Association

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Talks at this conference

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We explore the relevance of the historical concept of cosmic harmony for contemporary philosophical debates spanning music aesthetics and listeners’ participation, communication in music-making, and the inter-subjective and bodily aspects of sympathy as Early Modern concept, when understood as harmony between subjects. The conference is interdisciplinary across psychology, neurobiology, anthropology, musicology and philosophy, with a professional conductor also participating in an interview and panel discussion.

Conference Programme

Saturday 3rd June 2017


12.00 – 1.30 Welcome by INSEI and organizing committee and Panel discussion ‘Music and the Body’ with Joolz Gale (ensemble mini, Berlin)

1.30 – 2.00 Coffee Break I

2.00 – 3.00 Lydia Goehr (Columbia) ‘What anyway does "Music" mean in Early Studies of the Cosmos?’

3.00 – 4.00 Tosca Lynch (Oxford) ‘Hearing Justice: the Kósmos of the Soul and the Harmonía of the Lyre in Plato’s Republic

4.00 – 4.30 Coffee Break II

4.30 – 5.30 Henning Tegtmeyer (Leuven) ‘Music and the Cosmos in Aristotle’

5.30 – 6.30 Jacomien Prins (Warwick) ‘Sympathetic Vibration as Explanatory Model in Renaissance Thought’

7.00 Drinks Reception

7.30 Conference Dinner at Queens’ College

Sunday 4th June 2017

9.00 – 10.00 Chris Meyns (Utrecht) ‘Metaphysical Harmony’

10.00 – 11.00 Ewan Jones (Cambridge) ‘Bivalve Poetics: Rhythm, Sympathy, and Entrainment in the Late Nineteenth Century’

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee Break

11.15 – 12.15 Jacques Launay (London / Oxford) ‘Music as a Technology for Social Connection’

12.15 – 1.30 Lunch Break

1.30 – 2.30 Maarten Steenhagen (Cambridge) ‘Sympathetic Imagination’

2.30 – 3.30 Susanne Herrmann-Sinai (Leipzig / Oxford) ‘Music and Spirit: Hegel on Sympathy’

3.30 – 4.00 Final Discussion / End of Conference and Departure

Registration Fee of 5£ per person to be paid at the conference. No registration fee for members of the Royal Musical Association. If you would like to attend Dinner on 3rd June at you own cost (30 to 35£), please do get in touch with us via

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June 3, 2017, 9:00am BST

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