Philip Armstrong

Battle of Ideas


The 'Battle of Ideas' is a 50-minute orchestral suite in 11 movements, each of which draws upon a piece of philosophical literature from the Weimar heritage.

This heritage is well regarded for its literary (i.e. Goethe, Schiller), musical (Bach, Hummel, Liszt, Strauss) and art (i.e. Cranach, Van de Velde, Bauhaus) traditions. It also has a significant philosophical tradition. Classical Weimar was home to the greatest flowering of philosophical thought since the classical era of ancient Athens, and included contributions from such figures as Herder, Schiller, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. It was this flowering that underpinned all other achievements of the heritage including the mature literature of Goethe and Schiller.

The Contemporary Bequest:

The tradition continued in the ensuing decades through the work of Frege and Carnap, revisiting issues that have been at the heart of philosophical analysis since the era of ancient Greece and that continue to be critical to intellectual inquiry today. Accordingly, the Battle of Ideas extends the Weimar heritage pertaining to idealism, language and semantics by seeking to express this tradition not only in terms of cognitive language but also, following the examples of Bach, Liszt and Strauss, in terms of music.