We hear sounds, and their sources, and their audible qualities. Sounds and their sources are essentially dynamic entities, not wholly present at any given moment, but unfolding through their temporal interval. Sounds and their sources, essentially dynamic entities, are the bearers or susbtrata of audible qualities. Audible qualities are qualities essentially sustained by activity. The only bearers of audible qualities present in auditory experience are essentially dynamic entities. Bodies are not, in this sense, essentially dynamic entities and so are not (...) present in our auditory experience. Though absent in auditory experience, we may, nonetheless, attend to bodies in audition, when an audible sound-generating event in which they participate presents a dynamic aural image of them. (shrink)
The spatial misrepresentation objection (SMO) against the wave theory of sound argues that if sounds are compression waves, then our auditory experiences are massively illusory for not representing sounds as propagating in the medium. Thus, it claims that the wave theory should be rejected because it is unreasonable to accept such an error theory of hearing. This paper presents a metaphysics of compression waves to show that the wave theory correctly implies that we cannot hear sounds as propagating. Moreover, I (...) argue that the SMO is based on a mischaracterisation of the phenomenology of auditory experiences. A new conception of auditory perception is then proposed to explain how a sound source and its compression wave are both represented in the same auditory experience. Finally, I compare my view with some alternative theories of sound. Overall, it is found that the SMO is more of an objection against the traditional conception of hearing than a challenge to the wave theory of sound. (shrink)
Casey O’Callaghan has argued that rather than hearing meanings, we hear phonemes. In this note I argue that valuable though they are in an account of speech perception – depending on how we define ‘hearing’ – phonemes either don’t explain enough or they go too far. So, they are not the right tool for his criticism of the semantic perceptual account (SPA).
Some philosophers have argued that we do not hear sounds as located in the environment. Others have objected that this straightforwardly contradicts the phenomenology of auditory experience. And from this they draw metaphysical conclusions about the nature of sounds—that they are events or properties of vibrating surfaces rather than waves or sensations. I argue that there is a minimal, but recognizable, notion of audition to which this phenomenal objection does not apply. While this notion doesn’t correspond to our ordinary notion (...) of auditory experience, it does—in conjunction with our lack of an uncontroversial individuation of the senses and recent interest in distinctively multisensory features of perceptual experiences—raise the possibility of more expansive notions of audition, including some that do plausibly count as corresponding to our everyday notion of audition, that lack the spatial phenomenology cited in the objection. Until this possibility is ruled out, the phenomenal objection and metaphysical conclusions drawn from it remain inconclusive. (shrink)
This chapter examines how our sense modalities interact in the perception of persistence. The chapter concentrates on two questions. The first concerns perceptual processing—do perceptual computations of object persistence ever integrate and compute over representations from more than one modality? It argues that this question should be answered affirmatively. The second question concerns perceptual experience—do experiences of object persistence ever exhibit a constitutively multisensory phenomenal character, or is the phenomenology of object persistence always uniquely associated with just one modality? The (...) chapter argues that the available evidence underdetermines the answer to this question, but suggests ways it might be empirically resolved. (shrink)
As noted by philosopher Robert Pasnau, “Our standard view of sound is incoherent” at best (Pasnau, 1999, p 309). A quick perusal of how we discuss and represent sound in our day-to-day language readily highlights several inconsistencies. Sound might be described roughly as emanating from the location of its material source (the ‘crack of the snare drum over there’ distal theory), as a disruption somewhere in the space in-between the sounding object and the listener (the ‘longitudinal compression waves in the (...) air’ medial theory), located with the hearer (the ‘inner sensations’ proximal theory), or perhaps entirely devoid of spatial characteristics (aspatial theory). Beyond these topographic ruminations on the location of sounds, more profound disagreements arise around what sorts of things sounds are. A broad array of theories treat sounds as events, as object-like particulars that travel through space, as properties of their sounding objects, etc., with many subtle ontological variations springing up along the way. -/- The philosophical plot further thickens as we expand from defining the ontology and spatial position of simple primary sounds to the phenomenon of echoes, with some theories arguably faring better than others. The focus here will be on Casey O’Callaghan’s formulation of sounds as disturbance events that bind primary sounds and their echoes together as one (O’Callaghan, 2007a, pp 126-127). In short, the claim is that echoes are identical to their associated primary sound and are not distinct sounds in their own right. Described as the ‘Primary Sound Account of Echoes’ (‘PSAE’) in Gregory Fowler’s ‘Against the Primary Sound Account of Echoes,’ the intricacies of this particular aspect of O’Callaghan’s theory of a primary sound’s connection to its echo bears considerably upon the workability of distal theories of sound in general (Fowler, 2013, p 466). -/- In this paper, I expand upon Fowler’s work by demonstrating additional instances where the PSAE fails to hold when subjected to increased scrutiny across a broader range of echo scenarios, presenting a significant issue for proponents of distal theories of sound. (shrink)
Higher animals need to identify and track material objects because they depend on interactions with them for nutrition, reproduction, and social interaction. This paper investigates the perception of material objects. It argues, first, that material objects are tagged, in all five external senses, as bearers of the features detected by them. This happens through a perceptual process, here entitled Generalized Completion, which creates the appearance of objects that have properties that transcend the activation of sensory receptors. The paper shows, secondly, (...) that material objects are privileged subjects for perceived motion and interaction. That is, they are perceived as subjects for these properties while their parts seem to be subjects only derivatively. Material objects are the only perceptual subjects that are both multisensory and privileged. (shrink)
According to cognitive psychology, virtually every sensory system influences the way in which flavours are experienced. However, it is less clear which systems are actually constitutive of flavour perception and which have merely causal influence. The paper focuses on the status of vision and audition, which are usually not treated as constitutive in the context of flavour perception. First, it is proposed that the mechanistic explanation debate provides conceptual resources which allow the constitutivity of sensory systems to be assessed. Second, (...) it is argued that the contemporary state of the art provides reasons for accepting the constitutive role of audition, but analogous evidence is not available in the case of vision. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that there is a visual field, but the analogous notion of an auditory field is rejected by many philosophers on the grounds that the metaphysics or phenomenology of audition lack the necessary spatial or phenomenological structure. In this paper, I argue that many of the common objections to the existence of an auditory field are misguided and that, contrary to a tradition of philosophical scepticism about the spatiality of auditory experience, it is as richly spatial as (...) visual experience—and in some ways even more so. By carefully considering the spatiality and boundedness of audition, along with how sounds or their sources are experienced as occurring within the surrounding acoustic environment, we can gain a better understanding of (i) our auditory experience of space and (ii) the conditions for the existence of spatial sensory fields in general in a way that does not privilege vision over the other senses. (shrink)
In this paper I present an empirical solution to the puzzle of Macbeth's dagger. The puzzle of Macbeth's dagger is the question of whether, in having his fatal vision of a dagger, Macbeth sees a dagger. I answer this question by addressing a more general one: the question of whether perceptual verbs are intensional transitive verbs (ITVs). I present seven experiments, each of which tests a collection of perceptual verbs for one of the three features characteristic of ITVs. One of (...) these features is Nonexistence: the failure of sentences involving transitive verbs to entail the existence of their direct objects. The experiments reveal that with respect to all three of these features, "see" behaves much more like a paradigmatically extensional verb than an intensional one. But surprisingly, unlike "see", "perceive" behaves much more like a paradigmatically intensional verb. This shows that the category of perceptual verbs is not uniform with respect to the features of intensionality; while Macbeth does not see a dagger, he may still perceive one. (shrink)
It seems plausible that visual experiences of darkness have perceptual phenomenal content that clearly differentiates them from absences of visual experiences. I argue, relying on psychological results concerning auditory attention, that the analogous claim is true about auditory experiences of silence. More specifically, I propose that experiences of silence present empty spatial directions like ‘right’ or ‘left’, and so have egocentric spatial content. Furthermore, I claim that such content is genuinely auditory and phenomenal in the sense that one can, in (...) principle, recognize that one is experiencing silence. This position is far from obvious, as the majority of theories concerning silence perception do not ascribe perceptual phenomenal content to experiences of silence. (shrink)
In this paper I challenge the widely held assumption that loudness is the perceptual correlate of sound intensity. Drawing on psychological and neuroscientific evidence, I argue that loudness is best understood not as a representation of any feature of a sound wave, but rather as a reflection of the salience of a sound wave representation; loudness is determined by how much attention a sound receives. Loudness is what I call a quantitative character, a species of phenomenal character that is determined (...) by the amount of attention that an underlying perceptual representation commands. I distinguish quantitative from qualitative character; even qualitative characters that represent degrees of sensible magnitudes are phenomenally and functionally distinct from quantitative characters. A bifurcated account of phenomenal character emerges; the phenomenal is not exhausted by the qualitative. (shrink)
What are the sensory individuals of audition? What are the entities our auditory system attributes properties to? We examine various proposals about the nature of the sensory individuals of audition, and show that while each can account for some aspects of auditory perception, each also faces certain difficulties. We then put forward a new conception of sensory individuals according to which auditory sensory individuals are composite individuals. A feature shared by all existing accounts of sounds and sources is that they (...) postulate sensory individuals that are non-composite. They identify the sensory individual of sound hearing or source hearing with one type of entity in the environment, be they sound waves, vibrations, or interactions. We question this assumption and argue that our perceptual systems represent two or more aspects of the environment as a single sensory individual. Finally, we show that taking auditory individuals to be composite sensory individuals allows for an account of audition that is less problematic than its existing alternatives. (shrink)
Winning essay of the American Society for Aesthetics' inaugural Peter Kivy Prize. Extends Kivy's notion of sonic picturing through engagement with recent work in philosophy of perception. Argues that sonic pictures are more widespread and more aesthetically and artistically important than even Kivy envisioned. Topics discussed include: the nature of sonic pictures; the nature of sounds; what we can (and more importantly, cannot) conclude from musical listening; sonic pictures in film; beatboxing as an art of sonic picturing; and cover songs (...) as sonic pictures. To be published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. (shrink)
This chapter distinguishes between two kinds of ordinary multisensory experience that go beyond mere co-consciousness of features (e.g., the experience that results from concurrently hearing a sound in the hallway and seeing the cup on the table). In one case, a sensory experience in one modality creates a perceptual demonstrative to whose referent qualities are attributed in another sensory modality. For example, when you hear someone speak, auditory experience attributes audible qualities to a seen event, a person’s speaking motions. The (...) second kind of multisensory experience attributes features experienced in several sensory modalities to one and the same object via a process of amodal perceptual integration, i.e., integration that occurs separately from processing within the individual sensory modalities. Multisensory experiences arising from holding and seeing a tomato or from seeing the Indian curry boil and smelling it are examples of the second kind of multisensory experience. At the end of the chapter we look at synesthesia, a kind of atypical multisensory experience, and argue that one version of this phenomenon may be able to shed light on the neural mechanism underlying amodally integrated multisensory experience. (shrink)
This dissertation aims to revive wave theory in the philosophy of sound. Wave theory identifies sounds with compression waves. Despite its wide acceptance in the scientific community as the default position, many philosophers have rejected wave theory and opted for different versions of distal theory instead. According to this current majority view, a sound has its stationary location at its source. I argue against this and other alternative philosophical theories of sound and develop wave theory into a more defensible form. (...) Philosophers of sound tend to emphasise how sounds are experienced to be in their arguments. Most often, it is assumed that that which appears to be a distally located bearer of auditory properties in an auditory experience is a sound. Chapter 1 argues that if this distal entity is the sound source instead, many of the existing theories of sound will be severely affected. Chapter 2 discusses auditory perception and criticises the common assumption that we hear non-sound entities in virtue of hearing sounds. I show that this assumption begs the question against certain theories of sound and that the contrary view that sound sources can be directly heard is more plausible. If sound sources can be directly heard, then features commonly attributed to sounds based on auditory experiences might rather be features of sound sources. I examine eight of such features in Chapter 3. Only four of them survive. Chapters 4 and 5 review the existing theories of sound. After a taxonomy of existing theories of sound, each theory is criticised one-by-one. Some of them are problematic precisely because they rely on the implausible assumption that that which appears to be distally located in an auditory experience is a sound rather than a sound source. Lastly, Chapter 6 focuses on wave theory. It begins with two positive arguments for wave theory in general, followed by my replies to two common objections in the literature. I then move on to develop my version of wave theory. There are two core aspects of my view. The first one is a metaphysics of compression waves; the second is an account of what it is to hear compression waves. After comparing my view with a similar theory, I demonstrate the explanatory power of my view in two steps. First, the eight commonly accepted features of sounds examined in Chapter 3 are revisited. It turns out that my view can accommodate all of them. Second, explanations for four special sound-related phenomena are offered at the end of the chapter. I conclude in the last chapter with the suggestion that, as a philosopher, the best way to defend wave theory is to offer a better understanding of auditory perception which explains how compression waves are experienced. (shrink)
This paper identifies three claims that feature prominently in recent discussions concerning the experience of silence: that experiences of silence are the most “negative” of perceptions, that we do not hear silences because those silences cause our experiences of silence, and that to hear silence is to hear a temporal region devoid of sound. The principal proponents of this approach are Phillips and Soteriou, and here I present a series of objections to common elements of their attempts to place these (...) three claims within an account of experience of silence. The final section of the paper returns to the first of the three claims and argues that, in fact, there is no good reason to accept it as initially formulated. However, when properly formulated, the claim ceases to offer support for Phillips’s and Soteriou’s approach to experience of silence. (shrink)
A widespread view among philosophers and scientists is that recorded sounds and assisted hearing differ fundamentally from natural sounds and direct hearing. It is commonly claimed, for example, that the sounds we hear over the phone are not sounds emitted by the voice of our interlocutor, but the sounds reproduced by the phone’s loudspeaker. According to this view, hearing distant sounds through communication and audio equipment is at best indirect and at worst illusory. In what follows, I shall reject these (...) claims and argue in favor of a transparent view of auditory media, including radio, telephone, phonograph, etc. According to this approach, the great gift of Scott de Martinville and Edison is not to have invented devices able to reproduce vanished sounds but rather to have created technological instruments literally able to store and transmit them to future and distant listeners. (shrink)
Cognitive scientists have long known that the modalities interact during perceptual processing. Cross-modal illusions like the ventriloquism effect show that the course of processing in one modality can alter the course of processing in another. But how do the modalities interact in the specific domain of object perception? This paper distinguishes and analyzes two kinds of multisensory interaction in object perception. First, the modalities may bind features to a single object or event. Second, the modalities may cooperate when differentiating an (...) object or event from its surroundings. I critically evaluate evidence for various forms of multisensory binding. I then consider the case for multisensory differentiation. I argue that existing evidence for multisensory differentiation is inconclusive. I highlight ways that the issue might be empirically resolved. (shrink)
In ‘The Ockhamization of the event sources of sound’ (2013), Roberto Casati, Elvira Di Bona, and Jérôme Dokic argue that ‘ockhamizing’ Casey O’Callaghan’s account of sounds as proper parts of their event sources yields their preferred view: that sounds are identical with their event sources. This article argues that the considerations Casati et al. marshal in favor of their view are actually stronger considerations in favor of a quite different view: a variant on the Lockean conception of sounds as ‘sensible (...) qualities’ that treats sounds as audible properties of their event sources. (shrink)
According to the inferential view of language comprehension, we hear a speaker’s utterance and infer what was said, drawing on our competence in the syntax and semantics of the language together with background information. On the alternative perceptual view, fluent speakers have a non-inferential capacity to perceive the content of speech. On this view, when we hear a speaker’s utterance, the experience confers some degree of justification on our beliefs about what was said in the absence of defeaters. So, in (...) the absence of defeaters, we can come to know what was said merely on the basis of hearing the utterance. Several arguments have been offered against a pure perceptual view of language comprehension, among others, arguments pointing to its alleged difficulties accounting for homophones and the context-sensitivity of ordinary language. After responding to the arguments against the perceptual view of language comprehension, I provide a new argument in favor of the perceptual view by looking closer at the dependence of the justificatory qualities of experience on the notion of a defeater as well as the perceptual nature of language learning and language processing. (shrink)
In the recent literature on the nature of sound, there is an emerging consensus rejection of what might be thought of as the scientifically informed commonsense position: that sounds, whatever else they may be, must be entities that mediate between the source of the sound and the subject hearing it. This paper offers an argument for such "medial" theories of sound. This argument is intended to shift attention from the two considerations that have dominated the debate thus far: the relevant (...) scientific facts about audition and the spatial phenomenology of auditory experience. (shrink)
Through hearing we learn about source events: events in which objects move or interact so that they vibrate and produce sound waves, such as when they roll, collide, or scrape together. It is often claimed that we do not simply hear sounds and infer what event caused them, but hear source events themselves, through hearing sounds. Here I investigate how the idea that we hear source events should be understood, with a focus on how hearing an event relates to hearing (...) the objects involved in that event. I argue that whereas we see events such as rollings and collisions by seeing objects move through space, this cannot be how we hear them, and go on to examine two other possible models. On the first, we hear events but not their participant objects. On the second, to hear an event is to hear the appearance of an object to change. I argue that neither is satisfactory and endorse a third option: to hear a source event is to hear an object as extending through time. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that the gender properties expressed by human voices are part of auditory phenomenology. I will support this claim by investigating auditory adaptational effects on such properties and contrasting auditory experiences, before and after the adaptational effects take place. In light of this investigation, I will conclude that auditory experience is not limited to low-level properties. Perception appears to be much more informative about the auditory landscape than is commonly thought.
In arbitrating between representational and relational theories of perception, perceptual illusions—cases in which a subject’s perceptual experience diverges from the way the world really is—constitute an important battleground. The debate has, however, been dominated by discussions of visual perception. In attempting to extend the debate to audition, it is appropriate to start by considering what is thought to be a key case of auditory illusion. I consider the phenomenon of the ‘missing fundamental’, as well as examining a notion that is (...) often deployed by representationalists to explain it—namely, perceptual inference. Though it is frequently deployed as an explanatory concept by inferentialists, the notion of perceptual inference is somewhat opaque. Here, I formulate a ‘job description’ for perceptual inference, involving rule-following. I then identify two sets of cases that commonly prompt the invocation of perceptual inference: namely, cases of perceptual illusion, and cases of veridical perception where the perceptual content outstrips the information present in the stimulus. I then argue that an appeal to perceptual inference is unnecessary, in the case of the missing fundamental, for two reasons. Firstly, the missing fundamental is not, after all, a clear candidate for the ascription of inferential capacity to the auditory system: it is neither an illusion, nor is it the case that the stimulus is crucially impoverished. That is, it submits to a ‘direct’ explanation. Secondly, given the adequacy of a simpler explanation, and the difficulty between distinguishing between real rule-following and the mere appearance of it, I argue that we should avoid ascribing inferential capacity to the auditory system. I close by considering objections, and offering replies. (shrink)
Beyond Vision brings together eight essays by Casey O'Callaghan which draw theoretical and philosophical lessons about perception, the nature of its objects, and sensory awareness. O'Callaghan focuses on auditory perception, perception of spoken language, and multisensory perception.
In this paper I argue that empty space can be heard. This position contrasts with the generally held view that the only things that can be heard are sounds, their properties, echoes, and perhaps sound sources. Specifically, I suggest that when sounds reverberate in enclosed environments we auditorily represent the volume of space surrounding us. Clearly, we can learn the approximate size of an enclosed space through hearing a sound reverberate within it, and so any account that denies that we (...) hear empty space must instead show how beliefs about volumes of space can be derived indirectly from what is heard. That is, if space is not auditorily represented when we hear sounds reverberate, what is? I consider whether hearing reverberation can be thought of as hearing a distinct sound, hearing echoes, or hearing a property of a sound. I argue that experiences of reverberation cannot be reduced to the perception of any of these types and that therefore empty space is represented in auditory perceptual content. In the final section I outline two ways in which space might be represented. (shrink)
Listening effort helps explain why people who are hard of hearing are prone to fatigue and social withdrawal. However, a one-factor model that cites only effort due to hardness of hearing is insufficient as there are many who lead happy lives despite their disability. This paper explores other contributory factors, in particular motivational arousal and pleasure. The theory of rational motivational arousal predicts that some people forego listening comprehension because they believe it to be impossible and hence worth no effort (...) at all. This is problematic. Why should the listening task be rated this way, given the availability of aids that reduce its difficulty? Two additional factors narrow the explanatory gap. First, we separate the listening task from the benefit derived as a consequence. The latter is temporally more distant, and is discounted as a result. The second factor is displeasure attributed to the listening task, which increases listening cost. Many who are hard of hearing enjoy social interaction. In such cases, the actual activity of listening is a benefit, not a cost. These people also reap the benefits of listening, but do not have to balance these against the displeasure of the task. It is suggested that if motivational harmony can be induced by training in somebody who is hard of hearing, then the obstacle to motivational arousal would be removed. This suggests a modified goal for health care professionals. Don’t just teach those who are hard of hearing how to use hearing assistance devices. Teach them how to do so with pleasure and enjoyment . (shrink)
The paper outlines a tentative genealogy of the Platonic metaphysics of sight by thematizing pre-Platonic thought, particularly Heraclitus and Parmenides. By “metaphysics of sight” it understands the features of Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics expressed with the help of visual metaphors. It is argued that the Platonic metaphysics of sight can be regarded as the result of a synthesis of the Heraclitean and Parmenidean approaches. In pre-Platonic thought, the visual paradigm is still marginal. For Heraclitus, the basic structure of being is its discursive (...) articulation (logos) into conceptual pairs of binary opposites, an articulation that at the same time binds differences together into a tensional unity. The fundamental grasping of this ultimate unity-in-difference is conceived primarily through acoustic terms as a non-sensory “hearing.” For Parmenides, the ultimate unity of contraries is based on the capacity of thinking (noos) to intend anything as present; in fragment B 4, the exclusive relationship of thinking to intelligible presence is finally visualized in terms of a seeing or looking (leusso). (shrink)
Building on the notational principles of C. S. Peirce’s graphical logic, Pietarinen has tried to develop a propositional logic unfolding in the medium of sound. Apart from its intrinsic interest, this project serves as a concrete test of logic’s range. However, I argue that Pietarinen’s inaugural proposal, while promising, has an important shortcoming, since it cannot portray double-negation without thereby portraying a contradiction.
Perception is the ultimate source of our knowledge about contingent facts. It is an extremely important philosophical development that starting in the last quarter of the twentieth century, philosophers have begun to change how they think of perception. The traditional view of perception focussed on sensory receptors; it has become clear, however, that perceptual systems radically transform the output of these receptors, yielding content concerning objects and events in the external world. Adequate understanding of this process requires that we think (...) of perception in new ways—how it operates, the differences among the modalities, and integration of content provided by the individual senses. Philosophers have developed new analytic tools, and opened themselves up to new ways of thinking about the relationship of perception to knowledge. The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception is a collection of entries by leading researchers that reviews these new directions in philosophical thought. The Introduction to the Handbook reviews the history of the subject from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, and the way that science and philosophy have together produced new conceptions during the last hundred years. It shows how the new thinking about perception has led to a complex web of theories. (shrink)
Do we perceptually experience meanings? For example, when we hear an utterance of a sentence like ‘Bertrand is British’ do we hear its meaning in the sense of being auditorily aware of it? Several philosophers like Tim Bayne and Susanna Siegel have suggested that we do (Bayne 2009: 390, Siegel 2006: 490-491, 2011: 99-100). They argue roughly as follows: 1) experiencing speech/writing in a language you are incompetent in is phenomenally different from experiencing speech/writing you are competent in; 2) this (...) contrast is best explained by the fact that we experience meanings in the latter case, but not the former. In contrast, in an important recent discussion Casey O’Callaghan has argued that we do not (O’Callaghan 2011). He responds to the above contrast argument by claiming that this phenomenal contrast is instead best explained by the fact that we hear language-specific phonological properties in the latter case, but not in the former. In this paper I argue that O’Callaghan’s response to the popular contrast argument is too limited in scope, provide a more general response, and present a new case against experiencing meanings. (shrink)
The method of contrast is used within philosophy of perception in order to demonstrate that a specific property could be part of our perception. The method is based on two passages. I argue that the method succeeds in its task only if the intuition of the difference, which constitutes the core of the first passage, has two specific traits. The second passage of the method consists in the evaluation of the available explanations of this difference. Among the three outlined options, (...) I will demonstrate that only in the third option – as we shall see, the case of the scenario that remains the same but is perceived in two different ways by the same perceiver – the intuition purports a difference that posses the necessary characteristics, namely being immediately evident and extremely complex and multifaceted, which determine its tensive nature. The application within auditory perception of this third option will generate two cases, a diachronic one and a synchronic one, which clearly show that we can auditorily perceive causality as a link between two sonorous episodes. The causal explanation is the only possible explanation among the many evaluated within the second passage of the method of contrast. (shrink)
A longstanding philosophical tradition holds that the primary objects of hearing are sounds rather than sound sources. In this case, we hear sound sources by—or in virtue of—hearing their sounds. This paper argues that, on the contrary, we have good reason to believe that the primary objects of hearing are sound sources, and that the relationship between a sound and its source is much like the relationship between a color and its bearer. Just as we see objects in seeing their (...) colors, so we hear sound sources in hearing their sounds. (shrink)
It might be suggested that in auditory experience elements of the material world are not apparent to us in the way they are in vision and touch, and that this constitutes a shortcoming in the kind of cognitive contact with the world provided by auditory perception. I develop this suggestion, and then set out a way of thinking about the appearances of sound-producing events that might provide a response.
The contribution of recent theories of sound and audition has been extremely significant for the development of a philosophy of auditory perception; however, none tackle the question of how our consciousness of auditory states arises. My goal is to show how consciousness about our auditory experience gets triggered. I examine a range of auditory mental phenomena to show how we are able to capture qualitative distinctions of auditory sensations. I argue that our consciousness of auditory states consists in having thoughts (...) that organize our experience. Although my proposals could be adapted to fit with other theories of consciousness, here I expand David Rosenthal’s high-order-thought theory and his quality-space theory, and show their usefulness for analyzing our auditory experience. I use quality-space to account for pitch, timbre, loudness, and sound location. I further show that our high-order-thoughts capture qualitative aspects of our auditory sensations. I conclude by demonstrating how a hypothetical listener in possession of a refined vocabulary describes and reports her high-order-thoughts about her musical experience. (shrink)
The contribution analyses (self-)descriptions of hearing experiences articulated by cochlear implant (CI) users through internet blogs. These auto-medial testimonies (Dünne/Moser) are understood as elements of an individuation process that reciprocally produces the CI-user as well as the CI itself. The analysis therefore focuses on those acoustic effects that are established by the CI, its first activation and the further mapping or adaptation processes as well as early CI-hearing experiences and subsequent listening exercises. It can thus be shown how the cultural (...) practice of hearing/non-hearing is produced within a specific socio-technical arrangement. (shrink)
There is one character too many in the triad sound, event source, thing source. As there are neither phenomenological nor metaphysical grounds for distinguishing sounds and sound sources, we propose to identify them.
Pitch is an audible quality of sound which can be explained not only in terms of strong correlation with sound waves’ properties, but also by a neat correlation to the properties of the sounding object. This seems to be in favour of the theory of sound labelled “distal view”, according to which sound is the vibration of the sounding object.
In this paper I consider two related issues raised by Aristotle 's treatment of hearing and sounds. The first concerns the kinds of changes Aristotle takes to occur, in both perceptual medium and sense organs, when a perceiver hears a sounding object. The second issue concerns Aristotle 's views on the nature and location of the proper objects of auditory perception. I argue that Aristotle 's views on these topics are not what they have sometimes been taken to be, and (...) that when rightly understood they compare favourably in many respects with leading contemporary accounts. (shrink)
Hearing and auditory perception are rapidly developing topics in the philosophy of perception. Recent work has focused on characterizing what we hear and on similarities and differences between audition and other modalities. Future work should address how theorizing about audition impacts theorizing about perception more generally. This entry concerns questions about the objects and contents of hearing. It includes discussion of the spatial content of audition, of the role of time and pitch in the individuation of auditory objects, and of (...) audition's role in the perception of speech. (shrink)
Ancient mythology related music to pain in a twofold way. Pain is the punishment inflicted for producing inferior music: the fate of Marsyas; music is sublimation of pain: the achievement of Orpheus and of Philomela. Both aspects have played defining roles in Western musical culture. Pain’s natural expression is the scream. To be present in music at all, pain needs to be transformed. So even where music expresses pain, at the same time it appeases that very pain. Unlike the scream, (...) musical dissonance is articulate. While pain’s presence in music has to be mediated and in a way remote, it can be more differentiated than any immediate natural expression of it. Pain itself offers no structure to those who are overcome by it; rather it tends to disintegrate their lives. Music, on the other hand, is audible order in time. Such order may thus appear to be merely imposed on pain; yet it can also reveal something about pain by way of contextualizing it. (shrink)
Listening to speech in a language you know differs phenomenologically from listening to speech in an unfamiliar language, a fact often exploited in debates about the phenomenology of thought and cognition. It is plausible that the difference is partly perceptual. Some contend that hearing familiar language involves auditory perceptual awareness of meanings or semantic properties of spoken utterances; but if this were so, there must be something distinctive it is like auditorily to perceptually experience specific meanings of spoken utterances. However, (...) an argument from homophony shows that auditory experiences do not resolve differences in meaning not marked by differences in sound. I propose an alternative explanation of the perceptual phenomenal difference in terms of perceptual awareness of language-specific but non-semantic features. (shrink)
Sounds are audible, and sound sources are audible. What is the audible relation between audible sounds and audible sources? Common talk and philosophy suggest three candidates. The first is that sounds audibly are properties instantiated by their sources. I argue that sounds are audible individuals and thus are not audibly instantiated by audible sources. The second is that sounds audibly are effects of their sources. I argue that auditory experience presents no compelling evidence that sounds audibly are causally related to (...) audible sources. The third is that sounds audibly are related mereologically to their sources. I present and offer a defence of this third candidate. (shrink)