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Keyword:  Ambiguity
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Atherton, C. (1993). The Stoics on ambiguity. Cambridge University Press.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 10/26/21, 11:21 AM
      According to the Stoics, the use of ambiguity had ethical and moral implications for the welfare of the people involved (132). It is discussed and defined as part of dialectic, dealing "with the σημαινόμενα [signified] of linguistic items," because "ambiguity is by definition a linguistic phenomenon" (132–133).
Blattner, M. M., Sumikawa, D. A., & Greenberg, R. M. (1989). Earcons and icons: Their structure and common design principles. Human-computer Interaction, 4, 11–44.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/18/16, 4:54 PM
      Paraphrasing Kerman: "Even though timbre is difficult to describe and notate precisely, it is one of the most immediate and easily recognizable characteristics of sound."*

* Kerman, J. (1980). Listen. New York: Worth.
Clark, A. (2013). Expecting the world: Perception, prediction, and the origins of human knowledge. Journal of Philosophy, CX(9), 469–496.  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 7/26/18, 10:36 AM
      Clark presents two alternate models of perception:

"What happens when, after a brief chat with a colleague, I re-enter my office and visually perceive the hot, steaming, red cup of coffee that I left waiting on my desk? One possibility is that my brain receives a swathe of visual signals (imagine, for simplicity, an array of activated pixels) that specify a number of elementary features such as lines, edges, and color patches. Those elementary features are then progressively accumulated and (where appropriate) bound together, yielding shapes and specifying relations. At some point, these complex shapes and relations activate bodies of stored knowledge, turning the flow of sensation into world-revealing perception: the seeing of coffee, steam, and cup, with the steaming bound to the coffee, the color red to the cup, and so on.


As I re-enter my office my brain already commands a complex set of coffee-involving expectations. Glancing at my desk sets off a chain of visual processing in which current bottom-up signals are met by a stream of downwards predictions concerning the anticipated states of various neuronal groups along the appropriate visual pathway. In essence, a multi-layer downwards cascade is attempting to "guess" the present states of all the key neuronal populations responding to the present state of the visual world. There ensues a rapid exchange (a dance between multiple top-down and bottom-up signals) in which incorrect guesses yield error signals which propagate forward, and are used to extract better guesses. When top-down guessing adequately accounts for the incoming signal, the visual scene is perceived. As this process unfolds, top-down processing is trying to generate the incoming sensory signal for itself. When and only when this succeeds, and a match is established, do we get to experience (veridically or otherwise) a meaningful visual scene."


      Arguing that the model he presents does not support the view of the reality of the world being created within us (i.e. indirect perception), Clark states that: "The internal representations at issue function within us, and are not encountered by us. Instead, they make it possible for us to encounter the world. Moreover, they enable us to do so under the ecologically common conditions of noise, uncertainty, and ambiguity."
Erlmann, V. (2000). Reason and resonance: A history of modern aurality. New York: Zone Books.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/27/14, 9:46 AM
      "ample evidence of the fact that the sense of time is of fundamental importance to humans' sense of self". Erlmann relates this to Freud's Zauderrhythmus (vacillating rhythm) that governs the "proper interaction of consciousness and unconsciousness" -- thus perception is subject to "a "periodic" motion that wards off or at least slows down the "haste" of excessive excitations." According to Freud, this "apparatus not only sustains the organism and enlarges the domain of the ego by allowing us to step back from the urge to respond to each and every stimulus, it also determines our concept of time. Our entire time consciousness is based on the breaks that occur in the interplay between consciousness and the unconscious."
Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans. Oxford: Blackwell.  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 12/4/20, 9:49 AM
      "Ambiguity not only affects the way we avail ourselves of what is accessible for use and enjoyment, and the way we manage it; ambiguity has already established itself in the understanding as a potentialy-for-Being, and in the way Dasein projects itself and presents itself with possibilities."
      "Corresponding to the the inauthentic future (awaiting), there is a special way of Being-alongside the things wtih which one concerns oneself. This was of Being-alongside is the Present—the "waiting-towards" [...] To the anticipation which goes with resoluteness, there belongs a Present in accordance with which a resolution discloses the Situation. In resoluteness, the Present is not only brought back from distraction with the objects of one's closest, concern, but it gets held in the future and in having been. That Present which is held in authentic temporality and thus which is authentic itself, we call the "moment of vision".
Klausen, H. B. (2021). The ambiguity of technology in ASMR experiences: Four types of intimacies and struggles in the user comments on YouTube. Nordicom Review, 42(s4), 124–136.  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/16/21, 9:05 AM
"And how can technology be seen as ambiguous in this regard? On the one hand, as noted previously, (mediated) intimacy is encouraged by using techniques such as binaural sonic recording and visual close-ups as well as role-play narratives that remind users of real-life experiences, which are usually associated with physical touch. On the other hand, one could argue that no matter how parahaptic the ASMR experience might feel, there is no way to escape the physical distance and temporal displacement involved in the situation."
       "3D binaural sound (a technique designed to elicit three-dimensional tactile sounds)"
Knakkergaard, M. (2016). Unsound sound: On the ontology of sound in the digital age. Leonardo Music Journal, 26, 64–67.  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/1/17, 7:44 AM
      "The digital bit is not in the world in the true sense [they] are organized in arrays that consist solely of the simplest possible difference: something or nothing."
Mantovani, G., & Riva, G. (1999). "Real" presence: How different ontologies generate different criteria for presence, telepresence, and virtual presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 8(5), 540–550.  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/27/22, 7:21 PM
      In combining ecological perception with cultural psychology, the authors explain the resolution of everyday ambiguity: "Culture is the device that human societies use to reduce the ambiguity intrinsic to everyday situations: the space in which actors' interests and environmental affordances meet is defined and shaped by the mediation exerted by artifacts [...] Ambiguity of everyday situations does not disappear, but it is made tractable by the presence of the cultural tools and by the social negotiations of the meaning of situations that these tools make possible. This can happen to the extent to which an (at least partially) shared frame of reference exists among the participants."
  1. Presence is always mediated by both physical and conceptual tools that belong to a given culture. Physical presence in an environment is in principle no more "real" or more true than telepresence or immersion in a simulated virtual environment.
  2. The criterion for presence does not consist of simply reproducing the conditions of physical presence but in constructing environments in which actors may function in an ecologically valid way. We accept the emphasis of the ecological approach on the adaptive and active dimensions of perception.
  3. Action is essentially social (as knowledge in everyday situations is often distributed among various actors and various artifacts). Human presence in a given situation requires freedom of movement both in the physical environment (locomotion) and in the social environment composed of other actors and objects (task and goal definition, negotiation of the course of action to choose).
      Disputing Schloerb's (1995) "definition of objective presence as success in completing a task" the authors point out that it is possible to be present in an environment attempting to repair an engine but being unable to fix it. (Perhaps lacking the knowledge or tools to do so.)
Shakespeare, W. 1610-1611. The tempest. [Drama].  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/18/16, 4:52 PM

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again."

Sorensen, R. (1997). Vagueness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved October 27, 2021,  
Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/18/21, 11:56 AM
       "Vagueness is standardly defined as the possession of borderline cases. For example, ‘tall’ is vague because a man who is 1.8 meters in height is neither clearly tall nor clearly non-tall. No amount of conceptual analysis or empirical investigation can settle whether a 1.8 meter man is tall. Borderline cases are inquiry resistant. . . . Inquiry resistance typically recurses. For, in addition to the unclarity of the borderline case, there is normally unclarity as to where the unclarity begins. . . . Consequently, ‘borderline case’ has borderline cases. This higher order vagueness seems to show that ‘vague’ is vague."
      "Every natural language is both vague and ambiguous. However, both features seem eliminable. Indeed, both are eliminated in miniature languages such as checkers notation, computer programming languages, and mathematical descriptions. Moreover, it seems that both vagueness and ambiguity ought to be minimized. ‘Vague’ and ‘ambiguous’ are pejorative terms. And they deserve their bad reputations. Think of all the automotive misery that has been prefaced by
Driver: Do I turn left?
Passenger: Right.

English can be lethal. Philosophers have long motivated appeals for an ideal language by pointing out how ambiguity creates the menace of equivocation:

No child should work.
Every person is a child of someone.
Therefore, no one should work.

Happily, we know how to criticize and correct all equivocations. Indeed, every natural language is self-disambiguating in the sense that each has all the resources needed to uniquely specify any reading one desires. Ambiguity is often the cause but rarely the object of philosophical rumination."

Thom, R. (1999). Designing a movie for sound. Retrieved September 29, 2003, from http://www.filmsound.or ... designing_for_sound.htm  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/27/14, 9:44 AM
      Lists sixteen roles sound (inc. music) can play in a film:

  1. suggest a mood, evoke a feeling
  2. set a pace
  3. indicate a geographical locale
  4. indicate a historical period
  5. clarify the plot
  6. define a character
  7. connect otherwise unconnected ideas, characters, places, images, or moments
  8. heighten realism or diminish it
  9. heighten ambiguity or diminish it
  10. draw attention to a detail, or away from it
  11. indicate changes in time
  12. smooth otherwise abrupt changes between shots or scenes
  13. emphasize a transition for dramatic effect
  14. describe an acoustic space
  15. startle or soothe
  16. exaggerate action or mediate it
Tyndall, J. (1867). On sound. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 8/19/15, 2:30 PM
      "It is the motion imparted to this, the auditory nerve, which, in the brain, is translated into sound" and, discussing exploding gases in a lecture theatre, "every ear in this room is conscious of a shock, to which the name of sound is given."
      using the analogy of balls in a row hitting against each other (thus the motion of the first ball is transferred to the last), Tyndall states that "thus is sound conveyed from particle to particle through the air" and yet, when describing how this motion sets the tympanic membrane vibrating, which motion is itself transmitted along the auditory nerve to the brain, it is in the brain that "the vibrations are translated into sound"
Wells, H. G. (1908). First and last things: A confession of faith and a rule of life. G.P. Putnam's Sons.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 10/6/17, 12:40 PM
      " you look at finer and subtler things, as you leave the practical purpose for which the method exists, the element of error increases. Every species is vague, every term goes cloudy at its edges; and so in my way of thinking, relentless logic is only another name for a stupidity—for a sort of intellectual pigheadedness. If you push a philosophical or metaphysical inquiry through a series of valid syllogisms—never committing any generally recognised fallacy—you nevertheless leave behind you at each step a certain rubbing and marginal loss of objective truth, and you get deflections that are difficult to trace at each phase in the process. Every species waggles about in its definition, every tool is a little loose in its handle, every scale has its individual error."
Wilson, A. Aesthesis and perceptronium: On the entanglement of sensation, cognition, and matter. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 11/18/21, 12:12 PM
      Think of film and its discrete images melding into a continuous stream. Paraphrasing Leibniz and his ideas of the confused-distinct spectrum of knowledge (as opposed to the obscure-clear spectrum):

"It is the indistinction that produces the image we see as we experience a film. Thus, the property of confusion is essential to the experience itself; the distinct images, those little perceptions, need to synthesize and integrate into a unified perception in order for that experience to occur. Thus, the experience is instrincsically indistinct, because in order to be that experience, it must maintain its characteristic synthetic unity, which depends on the confusion of its parts" (22).

"An indistinct perception is therefore, in some sense, real: it exists independently of the agent's capacities in the specific sense that no effort of cognition will render it distinct without changing the character of the perception in question. . . . Those aspects of the world that escape the countability of individuality reveal the aesthetic underpinnings of individuality" (23).

      "The pre-Socratics, notably Parmenides, founded philosophy as an exercise in the mistrust of experience. The history of knowledge reads as a progressive questioning of previous assumptions about reality. From the depths of our organismic origins, evolution committed us to an unexamined naïve realism: as organism, we have to believe that this event follows that one; we have to trace effects to their causes in order to survive for any length of time in the environment, in order to escape our predators and obtains means of sustenance. But the philosophical attitude and the scientific reason that is its extension derive from a critique of these evolutionarily conditioned assumptions about reality."
      "Knowledge has revealed itself to be formally irreducible to the simple events of empirical experience: from within the proposition, we cannot reach the outside to which it would seem to refer, but go infinitely from sign to sign, belief to belief, proposition to proposition."
Wordsworth, W. 1828. On the power of sound. [Poem].  
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/19/16, 12:34 PM
          THY functions are ethereal,
          As if within thee dwelt a glancing mind,
          Organ of vision! And a Spirit aerial
          Informs the cell of Hearing, dark and blind;
          Intricate labyrinth, more dread for thought
          To enter than oracular cave;
          Strict passage, through which sighs are brought,
          And whispers for the heart, their slave;
          And shrieks, that revel in abuse
          Of shivering flesh; and warbled air,
          Whose piercing sweetness can unloose
          The chains of frenzy, or entice a smile
          Into the ambush of despair;
          Hosannas pealing down the long-drawn aisle,
          And requiems answered by the pulse that beats
          Devoutly, in life's last retreats!


The headlong streams and fountains Serve Thee, invisible Spirit, with untired powers; Cheering the wakeful tent on Syrian mountains, They lull perchance ten thousand thousand flowers. 'That' roar, the prowling lion's 'Here I am', How fearful to the desert wide! That bleat, how tender! of the dam Calling a straggler to her side. Shout, cuckoo!--let the vernal soul Go with thee to the frozen zone; Toll from thy loftiest perch, lone bell-bird, toll! At the still hour to Mercy dear, Mercy from her twilight throne Listening to nun's faint throb of holy fear, To sailor's prayer breathed from a darkening sea, Or widow's cottage-lullaby.


Ye Voices, and ye Shadows And Images of voice--to hound and horn From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows Flung back, and; in the sky's blue caves, reborn-- On with your pastime! till the church-tower bells A greeting give of measured glee; And milder echoes from their cells Repeat the bridal symphony. Then, or far earlier, let us rove Where mists are breaking up or gone, And from aloft look down into a cove Besprinkled with a careless quire, Happy milk-maids, one by one Scattering a ditty each to her desire, A liquid concert matchless by nice Art, A stream as if from one full heart.


Blest be the song that brightens The blind man's gloom, exalts the veteran's mirth; Unscorned the peasant's whistling breath, that lightens His duteous toil of furrowing the green earth. For the tired slave, Song lifts the languid oar, And bids it aptly fall, with chime That beautifies the fairest shore, And mitigates the harshest clime. Yon pilgrims see--in lagging file They move; but soon the appointed way A choral 'Ave Marie' shall beguile, And to their hope the distant shrine Glisten with a livelier ray: Nor friendless he, the prisoner of the mine, Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast Can draw, and sing his griefs to rest.


When civic renovation Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast Piping through cave and battlemented tower; Then starts the sluggard, pleased to meet That voice of Freedom, in its power Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet! Who, from a martial 'pageant', spreads Incitements of a battle-day, Thrilling the unweaponed crowd with plumeless heads?-- Even She whose Lydian airs inspire Peaceful striving, gentle play Of timid hope and innocent desire Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move Fanned by the plausive wings of Love.


How oft along thy mazes, Regent of sound, have dangerous Passions trod! O Thou, through whom the temple rings with praises, And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God, Betray not by the cozenage of sense Thy votaries, wooingly resigned To a voluptuous influence That taints the purer, better, mind; But lead sick Fancy to a harp That hath in noble tasks been tried; And, if the virtuous feel a pang too sharp, Soothe it into patience,--stay The uplifted arm of Suicide; And let some mood of thine in firm array Knit every thought the impending issue needs, Ere martyr burns, or patriot bleeds!


As Conscience, to the centre Of being, smites with irresistible pain So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter The mouldy vaults of the dull idiot's brain, Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled-- Convulsed as by a jarring din; And then aghast, as at the world Of reason partially let in By concords winding with a sway Terrible for sense and soul! Or, awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay. Point not these mysteries to an Art Lodged above the starry pole; Pure modulations flowing from the heart Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth With Order dwell, in endless youth?


Oblivion may not cover All treasures hoarded by the miser, Time. Orphean Insight! truth's undaunted lover, To the first leagues of tutored passion climb, When Music deigned within this grosser sphere Her subtle essence to enfold, And voice and shell drew forth a tear Softer than Nature's self could mould. Yet 'strenuous' was the infant Age: Art, daring because souls could feel, Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage Of rapt imagination sped her march Through the realms of woe and weal: Hell to the lyre bowed low; the upper arch Rejoiced that clamorous spell and magic verse Her wan disasters could disperse.


The GIFT to king Amphion That walled a city with its melody Was for belief no dream:--thy skill, Arion! Could humanise the creatures of the sea, Where men were monsters. A last grace he craves, Leave for one chant;--the dulcet sound Steals from the deck o'er willing waves, And listening dolphins gather round. Self-cast, as with a desperate course, 'Mid that strange audience, he bestrides A proud One docile as a managed horse; And singing, while the accordant hand Sweeps his harp, the Master rides; So shall he touch at length a friendly strand, And he, with his preserver, shine star-bright In memory, through silent night.


The pipe of Pan, to shepherds Couched in the shadow of Maenalian pines, Was passing sweet; the eyeballs of the leopards, That in high triumph drew the Lord of vines, How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang! While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground In cadence,--and Silenus swang This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned. To life, to 'life' give back thine ear: Ye who are longing to be rid Of fable, though to truth subservient, hear The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell Echoed from the coffin-lid; The convict's summons in the steeple's knell; "The vain distress-gun," from a leeward shore, Repeated--heard, and heard no more!


For terror, joy, or pity, Vast is the compass and the swell of notes: From the babe's first cry to voice of regal city, Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats Far as the woodlands--with the trill to blend Of that shy songstress, whose love-tale Might tempt an angel to descend, While hovering o'er the moonlight vale. Ye wandering Utterances, has earth no scheme, No scale of moral music--to unite Powers that survive but in the faintest dream Of memory?--O that ye might stoop to bear Chains, such precious chains of sight As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear! O for a balance fit the truth to tell Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well!


By one pervading spirit Of tones and numbers all things are controlled, As sages taught, where faith was found to merit Initiation in that mystery old. The heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as still As they themselves appear to be, Innumerable voices fill With everlasting harmony; The towering headlands, crowned with mist, Their feet among the billows, know That Ocean is a mighty harmonist; Thy pinions, universal Air, Ever waving to and fro, Are delegates of harmony, and bear Strains that support the Seasons in their round; Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound.


Break forth into thanksgiving, Ye banded instruments of wind and chords Unite, to magnify the Ever-living, Your inarticulate notes with the voice of words! Nor hushed be service from the lowing mead, Nor mute the forest hum of noon; Thou too be heard, lone eagle! freed From snowy peak and cloud, attune Thy hungry barkings to the hymn Of joy, that from her utmost walls The six-days' Work, by flaming Seraphim Transmits to Heaven! As Deep to Deep Shouting through one valley calls, All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured Into the ear of God, their Lord!


A Voice to Light gave Being; To Time, and Man, his earth-born chronicler; A Voice shall finish doubt and dim foreseeing, And sweep away life's visionary stir; The trumpet (we, intoxicate with pride, Arm at its blast for deadly wars) To archangelic lips applied, The grave shall open, quench the stars. O Silence! are Man's noisy years No more than moments of thy life? Is Harmony, blest queen of smiles and tears, With her smooth tones and discords just, Tempered into rapturous strife, Thy destined bond-slave? No! though earth be dust And vanish, though the heavens dissolve, her stay Is in the WORD, that shall not pass away.
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