Metaphysics, method, and the mouth: Philosophical lessons of speech perception

Philosophical Psychology 14 (3):261-291 (2001)
This paper advances a novel argument that speech perception is a complex system best understood nonindividualistically and therefore that individualism fails as a general philosophical program for understanding cognition. The argument proceeds in four steps. First, I describe a "replaceability strategy", commonly deployed by individualists, in which one imagines replacing an object with an appropriate surrogate. This strategy conveys the appearance that relata can be substituted without changing the laws that hold within the domain. Second, I advance a "counterfactual test" as an alternative to the replaceability strategy. Third, I show how the typical objects of cross-modal processes (in this case, auditory-visual speech perception), more clearly irreplaceable than the objects of the unimodal process examined by Burge [(1986) Individualism and psychology, The Philosophical Review, XCV, 3-45], supply a firm basis for a nonindividualist interpretation of such cases. Finally, I demonstrate that the routine violation of the individualist's Replaceability Condition occurs even in unimodal cases - so the violation of the replaceability constraint does not derive simply from the diversity of modal sources but rather from the causal complexity of psychological processes generally. The conclusion is that philosophical progress on this issue must await progress in psychology, or, at least, philosophical progress in accounting for psychological complexity--precisely the vicissitude predicted by a thoroughgoing naturalism
Keywords Metaphysics  Methodology  Perception  Science  Speech
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080120072604
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,721
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Experiencing Speech.Casey O'Callaghan - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):305-332.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Analytic Isomorphism and Speech Perception.Irene Appelbaum - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (6):748-749.
Object Perception: Vision and Audition.Casey O'Callaghan - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):803-829.
Merits of a Gibsonian Approach to Speech Perception.Jörgen Pind - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):279-280.
Charting Speech with Bats Without Requiring Maps.Jagmeet S. Kanwal - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):272-273.
Seeing Causings and Hearing Gestures.Stephen Andrew Butterfill - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236):405-428.
Fodor, Modularity, and Speech Perception.Irene Appelbaum - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):317-330.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

23 ( #216,558 of 2,158,809 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #354,157 of 2,158,809 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums