Jazz-Philosophy Fusion





Jazz, Metaphilosophy, Non-argumentative effects in philosophy, Schopenhauer, Parfit, Experimental Philosophy


In this paper I describe and provide a justification for the fusion of jazz music and philosophy which I have developed; the justification is provided from the perspectives of both jazz and philosophy. I discuss two of my compositions, based on philosophical ideas presented by Schopenhauer and Derek Parfit respectively; links to sound files are provided. The justification emerging from this discussion is that philosophy produces ‘non-argumentative effects’ which provide suitable material for artistic expression and exploration. These effects – which are often emotional – are under-recognised in philosophy, but they do important philosophical work in demarcating the kinds of truths we want to discover, and in sustaining our search for them. Jazz-Philosophy Fusion can help to increase metaphilosophical self-consciousness about these effects, while also helping to counteract any undue persuasive force they may achieve. Jazz is a particularly suitable medium because it has independently developed a concern with philosophical ideas; because of strong parallels between jazz and philosophy which explain their mutual openness to fusions, and because improvisation very effectively facilitates the direct audience engagement essential to inducing these effects.

Author Biography

James Tartaglia, Keele University

James Tartaglia is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Keele University, UK. He is also a jazz saxophonist and composer, who won the soloist prize in the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition, 1991, and studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, 1992-3, with saxophonist George Garzone. He is the author of Rorty and the Mirror of Nature (2007) and Philosophy in a Meaningless Life (2016); editor of Richard Rorty: Critical Assessments (2009); and co-editor (with Stephen Leach) of Mind, Language, and Metaphilosophy (2014) and Consciousness and the Great Philosophers (2016). He has recorded five jazz albums, most recently Jazz-Philosophy Fusion with his band Continuum of Selves, as part of his project for the current APRA Foundation Berlin ‘Multi-Disciplinary Fellowship’. The project website is:  http://www.jazzphilosophyfusion.com/


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How to Cite

Tartaglia, James. 2016. “Jazz-Philosophy Fusion”. Performance Philosophy 2 (1):99-114. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2016.2162.