Hearing Spaces

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):242-255 (2017)
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Abstract

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.

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Author's Profile

Nick Young
University of Amsterdam

Citations of this work

Sounds.Roberto Casati - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Auditory Perception.Casey O'Callaghan - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2009.
Silence Perception and Spatial Content.Błażej Skrzypulec - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1:1-15.
Silence Perception and Spatial Content.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):524-538.

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References found in this work

Sounds: A Philosophical Theory.Casey O'Callaghan - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Experiencing the production of sounds.Matthew Nudds - 2001 - European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):210-229.
Sounds.Casey O'Callaghan - 2009 - In Timothy J. Bayne, Axel Cleeremans & P. Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
The nature of noise.John Kulvicki - 2008 - Philosophers' Imprint 8:1-16.

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