On Experiencing Meaning: Irreducible Cognitive Phenomenology and Sinewave Speech

Phenomenology and Mind 12:218-227 (2017)
Authors
John Joseph Dorsch
Universität Tübingen
Abstract
Upon first hearing sinewaves, all that can be discerned are beeps and whistles. But after hearing the original speech, the beeps and whistles sound like speech. The difference between these two episodes undoubtedly involves an alteration in phenomenal character. O’Callaghan (2011) argues that this alteration is non-sensory, but he leaves open the possibility of attributing it to some other source, e.g. cognition. I discuss whether the alteration in phenomenal character involved in sinewave speech provides evidence for cognitive phenomenology. I defend both the existence of cognitive phenomenology and the phenomenal contrast method, as each concerns the case presented here.
Keywords cognitive phenomenology  sinewave speech  meaning  phenomenal contrast argument  speech perception  language comprehension  ambiguity  presentational phenomenology   top-down influences  cognitive penetration
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