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Ordering Loves: The Power of Music to Cultivate Virtue


Greg Wilbur


Presented at the CiRCE National Conference 2023.

Plato warned in The Republic about the effects of music to make someone “useless and brittle” and feeble. Confucius spoke against the “violence and disorder” that accompany a misuse of harmony. Pythagoras called music ethical and the essence of life. What did these ancient thinkers know about the power of music and its cultivation of virtue that we have forgotten? Augustine is a helpful instructor in the intellectual, affective, and eminent power of music to teach virtue and to rightly order our loves.