Sounds: A Philosophical Theory

Paperback | February 15, 2010

byCasey OCallaghan

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Vision dominates philosophical thinking about perception, and theorizing about experience in cognitive science has traditionally focused on a visual model. In a radical departure from established practice, Casey O'Callaghan provides a systematic treatment of sound and sound experience, andshows how thinking about audition and appreciating the relationships between multiple sense modalities can enrich our understanding of perception and the mind. Sounds proposes a novel theory of sounds and auditory perception. Against the widely accepted philosophical view that sounds are among the secondary or sensible qualities, O'Callaghan argues that, on any perceptually plausible account, sounds are events. But this does not imply that sounds are wavesthat propagate through a medium, such as air or water. Rather, sounds are events that take place in one's environment at or near the objects and happenings that bring them about. This account captures the way in which sounds essentially are creatures of time, and situates sounds in a world populatedby items and events that have significance for us. Sounds are not ethereal, mysterious entities. O'Callaghan's account of sounds and their perception discloses far greater variety among the kinds of things we perceive than traditional views acknowledge. But more importantly, investigating sounds and audition demonstrates that considering other sense modalities teaches what we could nototherwise learn from thinking exclusively about the visual. Sounds articulates a powerful account of echoes, reverberation, Doppler effects, and perceptual constancies that surpasses the explanatory richness of alternative theories, and also reveals a number of surprising cross-modal perceptualillusions. O'Callaghan argues that such illusions demonstrate that the perceptual modalities cannot be completely understood in isolation, and that the visuocentric model for theorizing about perception - according to which perceptual modalities are discrete modes of experience and autonomousdomains of philosophical and scientific inquiry - ought to be abandoned.

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Vision dominates philosophical thinking about perception, and theorizing about experience in cognitive science has traditionally focused on a visual model. In a radical departure from established practice, Casey O'Callaghan provides a systematic treatment of sound and sound experience, andshows how thinking about audition and appreciat...

Casey O'Callaghan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rice University.

other books by Casey OCallaghan

Beyond Vision: Philosophical Essays
Beyond Vision: Philosophical Essays

Hardcover|Feb 26 2017

$94.50

Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:February 15, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199575509

ISBN - 13:9780199575503

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Sonic realism2. What is a sound?3. The locations of sounds4. The argument from vacuums5. Sounds as events6. Audible qualities7. Sound-related phenomena8. The argument from echoes9. Echoes10. Hearing recorded sounds11. Cross-modal illusionsReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: Sounds is impressive. It is carefully argued and well-written. . . . In addition to presenting a novel theory of sounds, he sets a stage on which other theorists must perform by articulating challenges that any account of sounds must meet. This book will be ofinterest to anyone working in the philosophy of perception. . . . Philosophers have a lot to learn by attending to distinct sense modalities and how they interact, and O'Callaghan's book is an excellent place to start." --John Kulvicki, Mind