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O'Callaghan, C. (2009-2020). Auditory perception. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from https://plato.stanford. ... es/perception-auditory/. 
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard (10/3/23, 9:57 AM)   Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard (2/12/24, 1:47 PM)
Resource type: Web Encyclopedia Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 1095-5054
BibTeX citation key: OCallaghan2009a
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Categories: General
Keywords: Perception, Philosophy
Creators: O'Callaghan, Zalta
Collection: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Resources citing this (Bibliography: WIKINDX Master Bibliography)
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Auditory perception raises a variety of challenging philosophical questions. What do we hear? What are the objects of auditory awareness? What is the content of audition? Is hearing spatial? How does audition differ from vision and other sense modalities? How does the perception of sounds differ from that of colors and ordinary objects? This entry presents the main debates in this developing area and discusses promising avenues for future inquiry. It discusses the motivation for exploring non-visual modalities, how audition bears on theorizing about perception, and questions concerning the objects, contents, phenomenology, varieties, and bounds of auditory perception.


Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard  Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard

See related entry on sounds (Casati, Dokic, & Di Bona 2020/2005). Both entries ignore any philosophising from composers on sound (e.g., sound objects, Schaeffer and co.).

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
   "Philosophical thinking about perception has focused predominantly on vision. The philosophical puzzle of perception and its proposed solutions have been shaped by a concern for visual experience and visual illusions. Questions and proposals about the nature of perceptual content have been framed and evaluated in visual terms, and detailed accounts of what we perceive frequently address just the visual case. Vision informs our understanding of perception’s epistemological role and of its role in guiding action. It is not a great exaggeration to say that much of the philosophy of perception translates roughly as philosophy of visual perception."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Philosophy Perception Vision
   "we might attempt to determine whether any unified account exists that applies generally to all of the perceptual modalities. We can ask this question either at the level of quite specific claims, such as those concerning the objects of perception or the nature and structure of content. We can ask it about the relationships among perceiving, believing, and acting. Or we can ask it about the general theory of necessary and sufficient conditions for perceiving."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Perception Philosophy
   "Listening to music and being receptive to its aesthetically relevant features requires not listening to violins, horns, or brushes on snare drums. It requires hearing sounds and grasping them in a way removed from their common sources. . . . Musical listening thus may be thought to provide a prima facie argument against the claim that in hearing sounds one typically hears sound sources such as the strumming of guitars and bowing of violins."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Perception Philosophy
   "crossmodal illusions are not mere accidents. Instead, they are intelligible as the results of adaptive perceptual strategies. In ordinary circumstances, crossmodal processes serve to reduce or resolve apparent conflicts in information drawn from several senses. In doing so, they tend to make perception more reliable overall. Thus, crossmodal illusions differ from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is just a kind of accident. It results from mere quirks of processing, and it always involves illusion (or else is accidentally veridical). Crossmodal recalibrations, in contrast, are best understood as attempts “to maintain a perceptual experience consonant with a unitary event” (Welch and Warren 1980, 638)."


Welch, R. B. and D. H. Warren, 1980, “Immediate perceptual response to intersensory discrepancy,” Psychological Bulletin, 88(3): 638–667.

  Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Perception Philosophy Synaesthesia
   Argues that sound is not a private sensation but is an object of public perception: a falling tree does make a sound even if not heard; we can hear sounds in common (but not headaches).   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Perception Philosophy
   It is a phenomenological claim that sound is distal because that is what we experience. Perhaps, though, it is the sound source we experience in this way, an event-like individual, information of which is carried on a sound wave to become the proximal sensation of sound.   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
Keywords:   Perception Philosophy
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