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Abstract: It is a commonly held view that auditory perception functions to tell us about sounds and their properties. In this paper I argue that this common view is mistaken and that auditory perception functions to tell us about the objects that are the sources of sounds. In doing so, I provide a general theory of auditory perception and use it to give an account of the content of auditory experience and of the nature of sounds
Abstract: What is the relationship between sounds and time? More specifically, is there something essentially or distinctively temporal about sounds that distinguishes them from, say, colors, shapes, odors, tastes, or other sensible qualities? And just what might this distinctive relation to time consist in? Apart from their independent interest, these issues have a number of important philosophical repercussions. First, if sounds are temporal in a way that other sensible qualities are not, then this would mean that standard lists of paradigm secondary qualities offered by Locke, Galileo, and other modern philosophers — lists which include colors, odors and sounds without any significant distinctions — overlook significant metaphysical differences. This, in turn, would threaten to undermine the coherence of the modern understanding of secondary qualities itself. Moreover, a number of authors have recently urged that the essential temporality of sounds makes it impossible to understand sounds as properties (except on a trope theory of properties; see note 3). If true, and given the more or less universal view that colors are properties, this last conclusion would make potentially inapplicable to sounds much of the comparatively well-developed philosophical taxonomy and apparatus that has arisen in philosophical disputes over the status of colors (for presentations of this taxonomy and apparatus see, for example, Byrne and Hilbert (2003); Cohen (2008b)).1 Therefore, the conclusion that sounds are distinctively temporal would be a serious blow to hopes for a theoretically unified treatment of the sensory qualities.2 For all these reasons, quite a lot seems to hang on the question of the temporality of sounds
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
Abstract: Whether or not we would be happy to do without sounds, the idea that our expe- rience of sounds is of things which are distinct from the world of material objects can seem compelling. All you have to do to confirm it is close your eyes and reflect on the character of your auditory experience
Abstract: Provides the theoretical and psychological framework to the philosophy of sounds and audition. I address auditory scene analysis, spatial hearing, the audible qualities, and cross-modal interactions.
Abstract: Echo experiences are illusory experiences of ordinary primary sounds. Just as there is no new object that we see at the surface of a mirror, there is no new sound that we hear at a reflecting surface. The sound that we hear as an echo just is the original primary sound, though its perception involves illusions of place, time, and qualities. The case of echoes need not force us to adopt a conception according to which sounds are persisting object-like particulars that travel through space.
Abstract: Some sounds have pitch, some do not. A tuba’s notes are lower pitched than a ﬂute’s, but the fuzz from an untuned radio has no discernible pitch. Pitch is an attribute in virtue of which sounds that possess it can be ordered from “low” to “high”. Given how audition works, physics has taught us that frequency determines what pitch a sound auditorily appears to have
Abstract: Frequently, we learn of the locations of things and events in our environment by means of hearing. Hearing, I argue, is a locational mode of perceiving with a robustly spatial nature. I defend three proposals. First, audition furnishes information about the locations of things and events in one's environment because auditory experience itself is spatial. Audition represents space. Second, we hear the locations of things and events by or in hearing locational information about their sounds. Third, we auditorily experience sounds themselves as having relatively stable distal locations. I reject skepticism about spatial audition tracing to Strawson's Individuals, and suggest that spatial audition supports the view that audition and vision share a dimension of perceptual content
Abstract: I argue that sounds are best conceived not as pressure waves that travel through a medium, nor as physical properties of the objects ordinarily thought to be the sources of sounds, but rather as events of a certain kind. Sounds are particular events in which a surrounding medium is disturbed or set into wavelike motion by the activities of a body or interacting bodies. This Event View of sounds provides for a uni- ?ed perceptual account of several pervasive sound phenomena, including transmission through barriers, constructive and destructive interference, and echoes
Abstract: A commonly shared assumption is that there are no sounds in vacuums. If the standard science-based view that sounds are waves that exist in and travel through a medium such as air or water is correct, then vacuums hold no sounds and the shared assumption is true. Recently, however, several philosophers (Pasnau 1999, 2000; Casati and Dokic 1994) have argued against the received view. These authors have claimed, primarily on perceptual grounds, that sounds are properties of their sources (Pasnau 1999) or events located at their sources. According to Pasnau (1999), sounds are either identical with or supervene upon the the vibrations of objects ordinarily thought to make or produce sounds. For Casati and Dokic (1994), sounds are events constituted by such vibrations. These views share the consequence that sounds can exist in vacuums; sounds occur when an object vibrates alone in the absence of a surrounding medium. I do not wish here to directly engage the debate over whether sounds are properties or events in the medium or in the sources. Instead, I wish to indirectly address it by urging that the question of whether there could be sounds in vacuums should be decided neither by simply consulting common sense nor by reading oﬀ the consequences of one’s favorite metaphysical theory of sounds. I argue that even independent of explicit theoretical commitments concerning the nature of
Abstract: When you hear the sound of a car drive by on the street outside your window, you learn not only whether the car has a hole in its muﬄer or has squealing brakes. You also learn something about the location of the car because hearing furnishes information about the locations of its objects. By listening, you learn not only about the character of the things and happenings around you, but also about where they are in the surrounding environment. The question I wish to address is this: Do we hear the locations of sounds themselves, or do we merely hear the locations of sound sources—the objects and events that produce sounds? I shall argue that frequently we do hear the locations of sounds themselves, and that this is required in order to hear and learn the locations of sound-producing sources. This feature of auditory experience has consequences for the metaphysics of sounds. If we veridically hear the locations of sounds, then the most prominent conception of sounds is mistaken and we must revise our ontology
Abstract: Audrey … lives in a noisy environment and so has never experienced silence. Audrey … wants to experience silence and so constructs a soundproof chamber. When she enters the chamber, Audrey learns something: what it is like to hear silence. … Audrey is introspecting an absence of auditory sensations while perceiving an absence of sound … an auditory gap that originates through healthy hearing of an external state of silence. (271)