The cover of this pioneering volume of essays on auditory perception is a striking photograph of Sam Van Aken’s Thumper—a head-high, spherical geodesic lattice, studded with dozens of sub-woofer speakers. Connected to five, thousand-watt amplifiers, the metal sphere emanates a droning bass sound, which loops from angry physical insistence into silence and back again. Thumper is the cover of a manifesto. Too long have philosophers been obsessed with sight. Too long have they neglected the distinctive puzzles raised by non-visual modalities, (...) and developed distorted vision-based models of the other senses. Thumper’s message is: listen up. Anyone interested in perceptual experience (or for that matter epistemology, metaphysics, or aesthetics) will have much to learn if they do. (shrink)
In this paper I am going to argue that two commonly held views about perceptual experience are incompatible and that one must be given up. The first is the view that the five senses are to be distinguished by appeal to the kind of experiences involved in perception; the second is the view.
The distinction we make between five different senses is a universal one.<sup>1</sup> Rather than speaking of generically perceiving something, we talk of perceiving in one of five determinate ways: we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste things. In distinguishing determinate ways of perceiving things what are we distinguishing between? What, in other words, is a sense modality?<sup>2</sup> An answer to this question must tell us what constitutes a sense modality and so needs to do more than simply describe differences in (...) virtue of which we can distinguish the perceptions of different senses. There are many such differences. (shrink)
Our auditory experience involves the experience of auditory objects—sequences of distinct sounds, or parts of continuous sounds—that are experienced as grouped together into a single sound or “stream” of sounds. In this paper I argue that it is not possible to explain what it is to experience an auditory object as such—i.e. to experience a sequence of sounds as grouped—in purely auditory terms; rather, to experience an auditory object as such is to experience a sequence of sounds as having been (...) (apparently) produced by the same source. (shrink)
The character of our perceptual experience is such that it appears to be integrated or unified across different senses. If introspection were all we had to go on, we wouldn’t distinguish different senses at all, but would take ourselves to have a single sense and to simply perceive, but not see, or feel, or taste, etc.
It is a commonly held view that auditory perception functions to tell us about sounds and their properties. In this paper I argue that this common view is mistaken and that auditory perception functions to tell us about the objects that are the sources of sounds. In doing so, I provide a general theory of auditory perception and use it to give an account of the content of auditory experience and of the nature of sounds.
In this paper I am going to argue that two commonly held views about perceptual experience are incompatible and that one must be given up. The first is the view that the five senses are to be distinguished by appeal to the kind of experiences involved in perception; the second is the view – called Representationalism – that the subjective character of perceptual experience is solely determined by what the experience represents. We could take their incompatibility as a reason for (...) rejecting Representationalism; but I will suggest that it’s open to the Representationalist to claim that the experiences of a single sense need have no common character. (shrink)
To what extent can animal behaviour be described as rational? What does it even mean to describe behaviour as rational? -/- This book focuses on one of the major debates in science today - how closely does mental processing in animals resemble mental processing in humans. It addresses the question of whether and to what extent non-human animals are rational, that is, whether any animal behaviour can be regarded as the result of a rational thought processes. It does this with (...) attention to three key questions, which recur throughout the book and which have both empirical and philosophical aspects: What kinds of behavioural tasks can animals successfully perform? What if any mental processes must be postulated to explain their performance at these tasks? What properties must processes have to count as rational? The book is distinctive in pursuing these questions not only in relation to our closest relatives, the primates, whose intelligence usually gets the most attention, but also in relation to birds and dolphins, where striking results are also being obtained. -/- Some chapters focus on a particular species. They describe some of the extraordinary and complex behaviour of these species - using tools in novel ways to solve foraging problems, for example, or behaving in novel ways to solve complex social problems - and ask whether such behaviour should be explained in rational or merely mechanistic terms. Other chapters address more theoretical issues and ask, for example, what it means for behaviour to be rational, and whether rationality can be understood in the absence of language. -/- The book includes many of the world's leading figures doing empirical work on rationality in primates, dolphins, and birds, as well as distinguished philosophers of mind and science. The book includes an editors' introduction which summarises the philosophical and empirical work presented, and draws together the issues discussed by the contributors. (shrink)
Standard accounts of the senses attempt to answer the question how and why we count ?ve senses (the counting question); none of the standard accounts is satisfactory. Any adequate account of the senses must explain the signi?cance of the senses, that is, why distinguishing different senses matters. I provide such an explanation, and then use it as the basis for providing an account of the senses and answering the counting question.
In this paper I discuss the circumstances in which it would be right to revise a common-sense psychological categorisation -- such as the common-sense categorisation of emotions -- in the light of the results of empirical investigation. I argue that an answer to that question, familiar from eliminitivist arguments, should be rejected, and suggest that the issue turns on the ontological commitments of the explanations that common-sense psychological states enter into.
Whether or not we would be happy to do without sounds, the idea that our expe- rience of sounds is of things which are distinct from the world of material objects can seem compelling. All you have to do to confirm it is close your eyes and reflect on the character of your auditory experience.
We enjoy modes of sensory imagining corresponding to our five modes of perception - seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting. An account of what constitutes these different modes of perseption needs also to explain what constitutes the corresponding modes of sensory perception. In this paper I argue that we can explain what distinguishes the different modes of sensory imagination in terms of their characteristic experiences without supposing that we must distinguish the senses in terms of the kinds of experience involved. (...) thus the fact that we enjoy different modes of sensory imagining poses no threat to someone who thinks that the five senses are to be distinguished by appeal to the kinds of mechanism or psychological capacities their exercise involves, and not by appeal to experience. (shrink)