The nature of noise

Philosophers' Imprint 8:1-16 (2008)
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Abstract

There is a growing consensus in the philosophical literature that sounds differ rather profoundly from colors. Colors are qualities, while sounds are particulars of some sort or other, such as events or pressure waves. A key motivation for this is that sounds seem to be transient, to evolve over time, to begin and end, while colors seem like stable qualities of objects' surfaces. I argue that sounds are indeed, like colors, stable qualities of objects. Sounds are not transient, and they do not seem to be, even though they are typically perceived transiently. In particular, sounds are dispositions of objects to vibrate in response to being stimulated. This stable property view of sounds aligns nicely with, and owes an inspirational debt to, reflectance physicalist accounts of color. The upshot is a unified picture of colors, sounds, and the perception thereof.

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John Kulvicki
Dartmouth College

Citations of this work

A Theory of Perceptual Objects.E. J. Green - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):663-693.
Odors, Objects and Olfaction.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):81-94.
Sounds.Roberto Casati - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Sounds fully simplified.Jason P. Leddington - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):any075.

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