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Jessica Wiskus


Current position: Professor, Department of Musicianship, Duquesne University, USA.

During her AIAS-COFUND fellowship Professor Jessica Wiskus worked on the project 'Rhythmical Ethics (On Music and the Performance of Philosophy)'.

Project at AIAS

Certainly the challenge of describing the relationship between consciousness and world has, across millennia, inspired a range of scholars. My particular interest is to examine this relationship as a rhythmical one, and I seek to develop this research within the field of ethics.

While a system of ethics ordinarily concerns itself with the content of propositional statements, my work tries to take into account not only what philosophical texts say about ethics but also how certain texts enact or perform their meaning. I read the texts with a focus upon rhythmical forms – i.e., those transcendental structures of temporality according to which consciousness constitutes its meaning. Rhythm, in this sense, describes the power through which a present, expressing a whole, coheres with an absent past and future. Indeed, I argue that, like these very texts, our lives as subjects are constituted rhythmically. It is not simply that we possess musical rhythm – that we can anticipate, remember, and perform with a steady beat; rather it is that we are of rhythm (through the flowing and unified character of the body and its intentions) and we are oriented through rhythm (insofar as operations of perception, memory and understanding depend upon temporal cohesion). What I wish to understand, by engaging with the performative aspects of philosophical works, is how this rhythmical orientation stands beneath ethos (i.e. as our comportment with the world).

Project title:

Rhythmical Ethics (On Music and the Performance of Philosophy)

Area of research:

Music and philosophy 

Fellowship period:

1 Feb 2017 – 31 Jul 2018 

Fellowship type

AIAS-COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

This fellowship has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609033 and The Aarhus University Research Foundation.