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Accredited Standards Committee S1, Acoustics. (2013). Acoustic terminology: ANSI/ASA S1.1-2013. (ANSI) Melville, NY: Acoustical Society of America.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 6/8/23, 10:02 AM
Sound is: "(a) Oscillation in pressure, stress, particle displacement, particle velocity etc., propagated in a medium with internal forces (e.g., elastic or viscous) or the superposition of such propagated oscillation" or the "(b) Auditory sensation evoked by the oscillation described in (a)."

The definition has the following footnote: "Not all sounds evoke an auditory sensation, e.g., ultrasound or infrasound. Not all auditory sensations are evoked by sound, e.g., tinnitus."

Casati, R., Dokic, J., & Di Bona, E. (2005-2020). Sounds. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/11/24, 10:09 AM
"the various philosophical pronouncements about the nature of sounds can be rather neatly classified according to the spatial status each of them assigns to sounds. Where are sounds? Are they anywhere? The main relevant families of answers include proximal, medial, distal, and aspatial theories."
Proximal theory of sound/sound as sensation: "If sounds are simply defined as the objects of audition, then they are easily identified with the qualitative aspects of auditory perception. Various strands of indirect realism in perception would make this view mandatory. According to them, it is by hearing the immediate, proximal items that we hear some distal events or objects."
Cohen, S. M. (1982). St. Thomas Aquinas on the immaterial reception of sensible forms. The Philosophical Review, 91(2), 193–209.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 7/17/24, 11:26 AM
"Aquinas seems to have had a similar account in mind for hearing, where echoes play the role reflections play in sight, for as Aristotle says in the De Anima:

It seems that there is always some echo, but not always a clear one. For the same occurs with sound as with light; which also is always reflected

Aquinas claims that there is air on both sides of the eardrum, and that when we hear the inner air echoes the outer sound. Echoes, Aquinas may have thought, are like reflections in that (a) when you hear a whistle echo off a canyon wall the rock is not sounding (as the mirror does not become red)-it is the whistle that is making the noise; (b) the whistle causes the echo; and (c) when you hear the echo you are hearing the whistle."

Evans, G. (1985). Collected papers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/10/24, 6:50 AM
"The connection between space and objectivity lies so deep in our conceptual scheme that many philosophers pass from 'objective' to 'outer' without even noticing the question they beg. The subjective being regarded as what is 'in the mind', the objective becomes what is 'without the mind, and then it is easy to say with Hobbes that if we have a conception of a thing without the mind, we have a conception of space."
Glennie, E. (1993). Hearing essay. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/15/23, 4:11 PM
"Hearing is basically a specialized form of touch."
Hammershøi, D. September 2, 2015. The ANSI definition of sound. [Email]   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 12/7/15, 8:11 AM
I have made the response a private comment . . .
Howard, D. M., & Angus, J. (1996). Acoustics and psychoacoustics. Oxford: Focal Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/10/14, 8:47 AM
"At a physical level sound is simply a mechanical disturbance of the medium, which may be air, or a solid, liquid or other gas. However, such a simplistic description is not very useful as it provides no information about the way this disturbance travels, or any of its characteristics other than the requirement for a medium in order for it to propagate. What is required is a more accurate description which can be used to make predictions of the behaviour of sound in a variety of contexts."
LaBelle, B. (2006). Background noise: Perspectives on sound art. New York: Continuum.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 3/9/14, 12:13 PM
"sound is always in more than one place. If I make a sound, such as clapping my hands, we hear this sound here, between my palms at the moment of clapping, but also within the room, tucked up into the corners, and immediately reverberating back, to return to the source of the sound."
Locke, J. (1690). An essay concerning human understanding. 2nd ed.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 5/14/21, 1:58 PM
"How often may a man observe in himself, that whilst his mind is intently employed in the contemplation of some objects, and curiously surveying some ideas that are there, it takes no notice of impressions of sounding bodies made upon the organ of hearing, with the same alteration that uses to be for the producing the idea of sound? A sufficient impulse there may be on the organ; but it not reaching the observation of the mind, there follows no perception: and though the motion that uses to produce the idea of sound be made in the ear, yet no sound is heard. Want of sensation, in this case, is not through any defect in the organ, or that the man’s ears are less affected than at other times when he does hear: but that which uses to produce the idea, though conveyed in by the usual organ, not being taken notice of in the understanding, and so imprinting no idea in the mind, there follows no sensation."
Nicod, J. (1970). Geometry and induction. J. Bell & M. Woods, Trans. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. (Original work published 1930).   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/24/24, 10:20 AM
"Let us [. . .] rediscover geometry in the book of nature [. . .] experience rests not on space, but on bodies, or more generally on the sensible. However, geometry insinuates itself into the expression of any experience through the situations of the objects and observers, which are part of the circumstances of any sensible fact."
Nudds, M. (2009). Sounds and space. In M. Nudds & C. O'Callaghan (Eds), Sounds & Perception (pp. 69–96). Oxford: Oxford University Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/1/14, 12:09 PM
"sounds are patterns or structures of frequency components instantiated by sound waves"
O'Callaghan, C. (2009). Sounds and events. In M. Nudds & C. O'Callaghan (Eds), Sounds & Perception (pp. 26–49). Oxford: Oxford University Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/27/18, 2:51 PM
"[T]here is the event of an object or substance setting a medium into periodic motion. This is sound."
Pouliot, D. (2014). Hearing without ears (auditory brainstem implant). Retrieved August 19, 2015, from ... tory-brainstem-implant/   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/10/20, 7:57 AM
"The implant is placed in the wall of the lateral recess of the fourth ventricle in the area where the axons (nerve fibres) and cochlear nucleus (synapses)—which transport sounds picked up by the ear to the cerebral cortex—are found."
Revill, G. (2016). How is space made in sound? Spatial mediation, critical phenomenology and the political agency of sound. Progress in Human Geography, 40(2), 240–256.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/7/17, 4:12 PM

"Starting from Carpenter and McLuhan’s premise, we need to seek the ‘thinginess’ of sound as co-produced by the act or processes of making, the materials which carry and transmit, and the means of receiving, sensing and making sense. Sound is made within the contingent interplay of each of these realms simultaneously."

Riddoch, M. 2012, September 9–14, On the non-cochlearity of the sounds themselves. Paper presented at International Computer Music Conference, Ljubljana.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 9/23/20, 9:36 PM
Riddoch provides a fourth definition of sounds "as first and foremost meaningful, worldly phenomena."
"The fact that the sounds we hearken to are already meaningful would indicate that the conceptual in sound is not merely an afterthought, an artistic abstraction, or a subjective, psychological construction. The meaningfulness of what we hear is a fundamental aspect of the sounds themselves as we encounter them in the first instance."
"I would like to propose that there is therefore no such thing as a cochlear sound in any demonstrable empirical sense, there are only in the first instance the sounds themselves we hear and hearken to. By simple inference all sound, as something heard in the world, is therefore non-cochlear (or more precisely a nonphysical phenomenon)."
Santarcangelo, V., & Terrone, E. (2015). Sounds and other denizens of time. The Monist, 98(2), 168–180.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 1/9/24, 1:21 PM
"A purely temporal individual entity is such that we can establish when but not where it is. One can think of these individuals (for example, a sound) as having only temporal parts and temporal features in spite of their being dependent on more basic entities that have also spatial features (such as a body emitting the sound). But could such individuals exist entirely independently of any commitment to space? Strawson explores a positive answer to this question in chapter II of his Individuals, by means of a thought experiment concerning what he calls a No-Space world. In the first instance, this experiment aims at putting pressure on the Kantian thesis that space is a necessary condition for any “objective” experience, by which he means any experience of individual entities as existing independently of their being experienced. Strawson, however, adopts the Aristotelian view according to which our most basic schemes and categories provide us with crucial clues as to the basic structures of reality, and thus he conceives space and time as structures of reality and not just as forms of experience. Given our experience of the world, the world must be such that it makes this kind of experience possible. So, Strawson is here discussing the thesis that space is a necessary condition not only for any objective experience, but also for any objective reality."
"It is worth noting that sounds are here just the means to the end of investigating an ontological claim about space and time. Strawson is not making an empirical claim in the philosophy of perception about the nature of hearing in human beings. Nor is he making an ontological claim addressing questions like: are sounds individuals? are they events? are they properties of sounding objects? Rather, he is building up a thought experiment aimed at testing the metaphysical claim according to which the notion of space is necessary for any conception of an objective reality."
Scruton, R. (2009). Sounds as secondary objects and pure events. In M. Nudds & C. O'Callaghan (Eds), Sounds & Perception (pp. 50–68). Oxford: Oxford University Press.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/7/14, 2:10 PM
Sounds are "secondary objects and pure events"
"we do not attribute the secondary qualities of sounds to the bodies that emit them, nor to events that occur in those bodies"
A secondary object is "an object all of whose properties are ways in which it feels"
For Scruton, sounds are secondary objects because they are "a real part of the objective world" and not a mere "subjective impression"
With an Aristotelean conception of substance, an event is described by the objects taking part in it and the changes undergone by those objects as the event occurs. Thus, such a view of events is that they are "transformations undergone by particulars"
A pure event does not happen to any thing, it "cannot be reduced to changes undergone by reidentifiable particulars"
Our natural inclination to describe sounds in terms of their source "is not essential to the identification of the sound"
"The physicalist view banishes to the margin those features of sound that make sound so important to us, not only epistemologically, but also socially, morally, and aesthetically. In particular, it does not recognize the 'pure event' as a distinct ontological category, and one that introduces unique possibilities of communication."
Scruton uses examples and explanation of sound grouping/streaming (cf Bregman) to support his view of sounds as pure events because such auditory grouping needs no "bridges to the physical world" in the way that visual Gestalt figures do.
"pure events contain within themselves the principles whereby they can be ordered ... all without stepping into the order of things.
Sterne, J. (2012). Sonic imaginations. In J. Sterne (Ed.), The Sound Studies Reader (pp. 1–17). London: Routledge.   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 5/13/16, 2:30 PM
"Does sound refer to a phenomenon out in the world which ears then pick up? Does it refer to a human phenomenon that only exists in relation to the physical world? Or is it something else? The answer to the question has tremendous implications for both the objects and methods of sound studies."
Strawson, P. F. (1971). Individuals: An essay in descriptive metaphysics. London: Methuen. (Original work published 1959).   
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard 2/21/24, 9:38 AM
Sounds "have no intrinsic spatial characteristics: such expressions as 'to the left of', 'spatially above', 'nearer', 'farther' have no intrinsically auditory significance. [In comparison with vision] the visual field is necessarily extended at any moment, and its parts must exhibit spatial relations to each other."
Suggesting that even the congentially blind have a concept of visual space (above, behind, and so on), Strawson contrasts this with hearing: "A purely auditory concept of space . . . is an impossibility."
"Coud there be reidentifiable sound-particulars in the purely auditory world?  . . . Could a being whose experience was purely auditory make sense of the distinction between himself and his states on the one hand, and something not himself or a state of himself, on the other? . . . these question are not independent. An affirmative answer to the second entails an affirmative answer to the first. For to have a conceptual scheme in which a distinction is made between oneself or one's states and auditory items which are not states of oneself, is to have a conceptual scheme in which the existence of auditory items is logically independent of the existence of one's states or of oneself. Thus it is to have a conceptual scheme in which it is logically possible that such items should exist whether or not they were being observed, and hence should continue to exist through an interval during which they were not being observed. So it seems that it must be the case that there could be reidentifiable particulars in a purely auditory world if the conditions of a non-solipsistic consciousness could be fulfilled for such a world. Now it might further be said that it makes no sense to say that there logically could be reidentifiable particulars in a purely auditory world, unless criteria for reidentification can be framed or devised in purely auditory terms. And if this is correct, as it seems to be, we have the conclusion that the conditions of a non-solipsistic consciousness can be satisfied in such a world only if we can describe in purely auditory terms criteria for reidentification of sound-particulars."
"the true solipsist is rather one who simply has no use for the distinction between himself and what is not himself."