November 13, 2006
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.— Peter Kivy, the Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University, will give a talk on the topic “First the Music, then the Words: Philosophical Reflections of a ‘Philosophical’ Opera” at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Organized by the Amherst College department of philosophy and funded by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, Kivy’s talk is free and open to the public.
Kivy’s field is aesthetics and the philosophy of art. His early work is represented by The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics (1976, second edition 2003). In the early ’70s, he worked in Anglo-American analytic aesthetics, writing on the problems surrounding Frank Sibley’s seminal paper on “Aesthetic Concepts.”
In the late ’70s Kivy turned his attention to the philosophical problem of the emotions in music. The philosophy of music is now his principal interest, although he still works in the 18th century and in contemporary analytic aesthetics. The music project resulted in the publication of five books, dealing with musical expression, musical representation, opera, pure instrumental music and musical performance.
In his most recent book, Philosophies of Arts (1997), Kivy departed somewhat from the musical problems, and tried to deal with issues centering on how the various arts differ. This has led him to become deeply interested in the philosophy of literature. His most recent book is The Possessor and the Possessed: Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and the Idea of Musical Genius (2001).