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I am visited by an Extraterrestrial Being called P'taah and tell the strange story of that. First sentence from Lesson 5 in A Course in Miracles is read. How to overcome your spiritual, phys But similarly impoverished, non-spatial experiences seem possible for other modalities.

Consider visually experiencing a uniform gray ganzfeld, or floating weightlessly in a uniformly warm bath. Neither provides the materials for spatial concepts, so neither differs from audition in this respect. One might contend that we therefore lack a good reason to think that, in contrast to a purely visual or tactile experience , a purely auditory experience would be an entirely non-spatial experience see O'Callaghan Nudds suggests another way to understand the claim, and interprets Strawson as making an observation about the internal structure of audition:.

Audition, unlike vision, lacks a spatial structure or field, claims Nudds. A purely auditory experience thus would not comprise a spatial field into which individuals independent from oneself might figure. Following an example from Martin , Nudds argues that while vision involves awareness of unoccupied locations, audition does not involve awareness of regions of space as empty or unoccupied. Martin's example is seeing the space in the center of a ring as empty. In audition, Nudds claims, one never experiences a space as empty or unoccupied.

In response, one might simply deny a difference between vision and audition on this count. If one can attend to a location near the center of the visible ring as empty, one can attend to the location between the sounding alarm clock and the slamming door as a place where there is no audible sound—as acoustically empty space.

Of course, auditory space generally is less replete than visual space, but this is contingent. Consider seeing just a few stars flickering on and off against a dark sky. Since such an experience may have spatial structure, and since it is analogous to audition, one might on these grounds defend the claim that audition has spatial structure. What about the second way mentioned above to understand Strawson's claim?

Though audition's status as intrinsically spatial may not differ from that of vision or touch, perhaps sounds are not intrinsically spatial. But without further argument, or a commitment to a theory of sounds, it is difficult to state confidently the intrinsic features of sounds and thus whether they include spatial features. If, for instance, wavelength is among a sound's intrinsic features, sounds are intrinsically spatial. Nonetheless, the claim might be that sounds, as they are perceptually experienced to be, lack intrinsic or non-relational spatial features.

Roughly, independent from spatial relations to other sounds, experienced sounds seem to lack internal spatial structure. That is why you cannot auditorily experience the empty space at the center of a sound or hear its edges. Interpreted as such—that sounds are not experienced or perceptually represented to have inherent spatial features—the claim is plausible though consider diffuse or spread out sounds in contrast to focused or pinpoint sounds.

It certainly marks an important difference from vision, whose objects frequently not only seem to have rich internal spatial structure, but also are individuated in terms of inherent spatial features. This difference, however, does not ground an argument that any purely auditory experience is non-spatial or that sounds fail to satisfy the requirement on objectivity, since sounds' being experienced to have internal, intrinsic, or inherent spatial characteristics is necessary neither for spatial auditory experience nor to experience sounds as objective.

Since sounds phenomenologically seem to be located in space and to bear extrinsic spatial relations to each other, auditory experience satisfies the requirements for objectivity, which need only secure the materials for a conception of a place for sounds to exist when not experienced.

So, vision and audition differ with respect to space in two ways. First, vision's spatial acuity surpasses that of audition. Second, vision's objects are perceptually experienced to have rich internal spatial structure, and audition's are not.

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However, given the spatial characteristics evident in audition, such as direction and distance, the spatial status of audition presents no barrier to understanding its objects as perceiver-independent. The spatial aspects of auditory phenomenology thus may fail to ground an argument to the conclusion that sounds are modifications of one's consciousness. If that is the case, then audition provides no special intuitive support for accounts on which private entities are the direct objects of perception.

According to theories on which sounds are individuals, sounds are not secondary or sensible qualities. But, humans hear audible qualities, such as pitch, loudness, and timbre, that are analogous to colors, tastes, and smells. Thus, familiar accounts of colors and other sensible attributes or secondary qualities might apply to the audible qualities.

For instance, pitches might be either dispositions to cause certain kinds of experiences in suitable subjects, the physical or categorical bases of such dispositions, sensations or projected features of auditory experiences, or simple primitive properties of actual or edenic sounds. Tradition suggests that the form of a philosophical account of visible qualities, such as color, and their perception applies to other sensible qualities, such as pitch, flavor, and smell, and their perception.

Thus, according to tradition, if dispositionalism, physicalism, projectivism, or primitivism about sensible qualities is true for features associated with one modality, it is true for features associated with others. Despite tradition, we should be wary to accept that a theory of sensible qualities translates plausibly across the senses. Debates about sensible qualities and their perception begin with concerns about whether sensible features can be identified with or reduced to any objective physical features.

What follows has two aims. The first is to give a sense of how such debates might go in the case of audible qualities. The focus is on pitch, since pitch is often compared to color, and the case of color is well known. The second is to point out the most salient differences and similarities between the cases of color and pitch that impact the plausibility of arguments translated from one case to the other.

First, I consider two noteworthy arguments that are founded on aspects of color perception. Each aims to establish that the colors we perceive cannot be identified with objective physical features. Neither argument transposes neatly to the case of pitch. Thus, we should not assume arguments that are effective in the case of color have equal force when applied to other sensible qualities. Color perhaps is a uniquely difficult case. Second, however, I discuss two respects in which pitch experience is similar to color experience. It is instructive that these aspects of pitch experience do raise difficulties for an objective physical account of pitch that are familiar from the case of color.

What are pitch, timbre, and loudness? The pitch of fingernails scratching a blackboard generally is higher than that of thumping a washtub. Loudness can be glossed as the volume, intensity, or quantity of sound. A jet plane makes louder sounds than a model plane. Timbre is more difficult to describe. Timbre is a quality in which sounds that share pitch and loudness might differ.

So, a violin, a cello, and a piano all playing the same note differ in timbre. Physics and psychoacoustics show that properties including frequency, amplitude, and wave shape determine the audible qualities sounds auditorily appear to have. To simplify, take the case of pitch, since pitch often is compared to color. Not all sounds appear to have pitch. Some sounds appear to have pitch thanks to a simple, sinusoidal pattern of vibration at some frequency in an object or in the air.

Some sounds appear pitched thanks to a complex pattern of vibration that can be decomposed into sinusoidal constituents at multiple frequencies, since any pattern of vibration can be analyzed as some combination of simple sinusoids. Sounds appear pitched, however, just when they have sinusoidal constituents, or partials , that all are integer multiples of a common fundamental frequency. Sounds with pitch thus correspond to regular or periodic patterns of vibration that differ in fundamental frequency and complexity.

Simple sinusoids and complex waveforms match in pitch though they typically differ in timbre when they share fundamental frequency, even when the complex tone lacks a sinusoidal constituent at the fundamental frequency the phenomenon of the missing fundamental. A straightforward account identifies pitch with periodicity perhaps within some range. Having pitch is being periodic see O'Callaghan , ch. Periodicity can be expressed in terms of fundamental frequency, so individual pitches are fundamental frequencies. This has advantages as an account of pitch. It captures the linear ordering of pitches.

It also explains the musical intervals, such as the octave, fifth, and fourth, for example, which are pitch relations that hold among periodic tones. Musical intervals correspond to whole-number ratios between fundamental frequencies.

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Sounds that differ by an octave have fundamental frequencies that stand in ratios. Fifths involve a relationship, fourths are , and so on. This also allows us to revise the linear pitch ordering to accommodate the auditory sense in which tones that differ by an octave nonetheless are the same pitch. If the pitch ordering is represented as a helix, upon which successive octave-related tones fall at a common angular position, each full rotation represents doubling frequency.

Is the periodicity theory of pitch plausible as an account of the audible features we perceive when hearing sounds? If so, then objective physicalism about at least some sensible qualities might succeed. The periodicity theory of pitch fares better on two counts than theories that identify colors with objective physical properties. First, consider the phenomenological distinction between unique and binary hues.

Some colors appear to incorporate other colors, and some do not. Purple, for instance, appears both reddish and bluish; red just looks red. Some philosophers contend that the leading physical theories of color cannot explain the unique-binary distinction without essentially invoking the color experiences of subjects. How, for instance, do reflectance classes identified with unique hues differ from those associated with binary hues?

Consider an analogous issue for pitch. Some tones with pitch sound simple , while other pitched tones, such as sounds of musical instruments, auditorily appear to be complex and to have discernible components. However, the difference between audibly simple and audibly complex pitched tones is captured by the simplicity or complexity of a sound's partials. Simple tones are sinusoids, and complex tones have multiple overtones. So, one response is to hold that the unique-binary color distinction and the simple-complex pitch distinction are disanalogous.

Unlike the case of color, one might contend, no pitch that is essentially a mixture of other pitches occupies a unique place in pitch space. Second, consider metamerism. Some surfaces with very different reflectance characteristics match in color. Metameric pairs share no obvious objective physical property.

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Some philosophers argue that unless color experience fails to distinguish distinct colors, metamers preclude identifying colors with natural physical properties of surfaces see the entry on color. Now consider the case of pitch. Are there pitch metamers? Some sounds with very different spectral frequency profiles match in pitch. A simple sinusoidal tone at a given frequency matches the pitch of each complex tone with that fundamental frequency even those that lack a constituent at the fundamental. But, again, the case of pitch differs from the case of color.

For each matching pitch, a single natural property does unify the class. The tones all share a fundamental frequency. First, arguments from intersubjective variation transpose. Variations in frequency sensitivity exist among perceivers; for instance, subjects differ in which frequency they identify as middle C. If there is no principled way to legislate whose experience is veridical, pitch might be subjective or perceiver-relative.

One response is that, in contrast to the case of unique red, there is an objective standard for middle C: fundamental frequency. But, whose pitch experience has the normative significance to settle the frequency of middle C? Some might wonder whether there is a pitch analog of the trouble posed by the kind of variation associated with spectrum inversion in the case of color see the entry on inverted qualia. Spectral shift in pitch, sometimes dramatic, commonly occurs after cochlear implant surgery. This is not spectral inversion for pitch; but, a dramatic shift makes most of the same trouble as inversion.

Not quite all the trouble, since cochlear implants preserve the pitch ordering and its direction. But, there could be a cochlear implant that switched the placement of electrodes sensitive to hertz and hertz, respectively; and there could be one that reversed the entire electrode ordering. This goes some distance to grounding the conceivability of a pitch inversion that reverses the height ordering of tones. Second, consider an argument that frequencies cannot capture the relational structure among the pitches.

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This is loosely analogous to the argument that physicalism about color fails to capture the relational structure of the hues—for instance, that red is more similar to orange than either is to green. In the case of pitch, psychoacoustics experiments show that perceived pitch does not map straightforwardly onto frequency.

Though each unique pitch corresponds to a unique frequency or small frequency range , the relations among apparent pitches do not match those among frequencies. In particular, equivalent pitch intervals do not correspond to equal frequency intervals. For example, the effect upon perceived pitch of a hertz change in frequency varies dramatically across the frequency range. It is dramatic at low frequency and barely detectable at high frequency.

Similarly, doubling frequency does not make for equivalent pitch intervals. A hertz tone must be tripled in frequency to produce the same increase in pitch as that produced by quadrupling the frequency of a hertz tone. Apparent pitch is a complex function of frequency; it is neither linear nor logarithmic see, e.

Pitch scales that capture the psychoacoustic data assign equal magnitudes, commonly measured in units called mels , to equal pitch intervals. The mel scale of pitch thus is an extensive or numerical pitch scale, in contrast to the intensive frequency scale for pitch. The former, but not the latter, preserves ratios among pitches. Stevens famously argued on the basis of results drawn from psychoacoustic experiments that pitch is not frequency see, e.

In light of similar results, contemporary psychoacoustics researchers commonly reject the identification of pitch with frequency or periodicity. The received scientific view thus holds that pitch is a subjective or psychological quality that is no more than correlated with objective frequency see, e. Pitch, on this understanding, belongs only to experiences. The received view of pitch therefore implies an error theory according to which pitch experience involves a widespread projective illusion.

What is the argument against the periodicity theory of pitch? Compare an argument against reflectance physicalism about color. Reflectance physicalism identifies each hue with a class of reflectances. Periodicity physicalism identifies each pitch with a fundamental frequency. In both cases, each determinate sensible feature is identified with a determinate physical property. In the color case, it is objected that reflectance classes do not bear the relations to each other that the colors bear.

In the pitch case, the frequencies do not bear the relations to each other that the pitches bear. Thus, if the relational features among a class of sensible qualities are essential to them, an account that does not accurately capture those relations fails. Frequencies, according to this line of argument, do not stand in the relations essential to pitch. This, of course, is a quite general phenomenon among sensible qualities. Brightness and loudness vary logarithmically with simple physical quantities. Even if we identified candidate molecules for smells, nothing suggests physical similarities would mirror their olfactory similarities.

One might respond, in the case of pitch and other sensible features that can be put in a linear ordering, that the relational order is essential, while the magnitudes are not. In that case, if pitch is frequency, pitch experience has the right structure, but distorts magnitudes of difference in pitch.

This retains the periodicity theory and explains away the results in terms of pitch experiences. Pautz , 3. Suppose, however, we accept that the mel scale is well-founded and that it accurately captures essential relationships among pitches. This does not by itself imply a projective or subjective theory of pitch. Pitches might be dispositions to produce certain kinds of experiences, or they might be simple or primitive properties. It also is open to seek a more adequate physical candidate for pitch.

For instance, pitches might be far more complex physical properties than frequencies. Such physical properties may be of no interest in developing the simplest, most complete natural physical theory, but they may be anthropocentrically interesting. It is an important question whether a physical theory of sensible features should just provide a physical candidate for each determinate sensible feature, or whether the physical relationships among those physical candidates should capture the structural relations among sensible qualities and, if so, which structural relations it should capture.

This is an example of how considering in detail the nature and the experience of sensible qualities other than color promises insights into traditional debates concerning the sensible qualities Pautz contains an empirically-grounded argument concerning a variety of sensible qualities that advances this discussion. Musical listening is a topic that bears on questions about the relationship between hearing sounds and hearing sources. While the philosophy of music has its own vast literature see the entry on the philosophy of music , musical experience has not been explored extensively in connection with general philosophical questions about auditory perception.

This section discusses links that should advance philosophical work on auditory perception. An account of listening to pure or non-vocal music should capture the aesthetic significance of musical listening. Appreciating music is appreciating sounds and sequences, arrangements, or structures of sounds. Thus, the temporal aspects of auditory experiences are critical to appreciatively listening to music. One might go further and hold that sounds are all that matters in music. In particular, some have argued that appreciatively listening to music demands listening in a way that abstracts from the environmental significance, and thus from the specific sources, of the sounds it includes Scruton , 2—3.

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. Hearing a high fidelity recording thus furnishes an aesthetically identical musical experience despite having a speaker cone rather than a violin as source. This suggests an intuitive difference between music and visual arts such as painting and sculpture.

As Kivy explains, it is difficult even with the most abstract paintings and sculptures to see them in a way that takes them to be entirely formal or abstract. That is, it is difficult to avoid seeing pictures and sculptures as representational. In contrast, it seems easier to listen attentively to the formal acoustical features of musical sounds, without being compelled to think of what makes them.

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. Acousmatic experience, however, may be a matter of attention. Nothing prevents focusing one's attention on the sounds and audible qualities without attending to the instruments, acts, and events that are their sources, even if each is auditorily available.

That musical listening requires effort and training supports the idea that one can direct attention differently in auditory experience, depending on one's interests.

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Not getting eaten and safely crossing the street require attending to sound sources, while listening with aesthetic appreciation to a symphony may require abstracting from the circumstances of its production, such as the finger movements of the oboist. This response holds that musical listening is a matter of auditorily attending in a certain way. It is attending to features of sounds themselves, but does not imply failing to hear sound sources. The acousmatic thesis is a limited view about which aspects of one's auditory experience are aesthetically significant.

These include aspects involved in hearing sounds proper, but exclude, for example, other contents of auditory experience. However, room exists for debate over the aesthetically significant aspects of what you hear see Hamilton , For example, one might argue that live performances have aesthetic advantages over recordings because one hears the performance of the sounds and songs, rather than their reproduction by loudspeakers cf. Mag Uidhir Circumstances of sound production, such as that skillful gestures generate a certain passage, or that a particularly rare wood accounts for a violin's sounds, might be aesthetically relevant in a way that outstrips the sounds, and some such features may be audible in addition to sounds.

For instance, hearing the spatial characteristics of a performance may hold aesthetic significance beyond the tones and structures admitted by traditional accounts of musical listening. To imagine auditorily experiencing the spatial characteristics of music in a way entirely divorced from the environmental significance of the sounds is difficult. Appreciating the relationship between experiences of sounds and of sources makes room for a view of the aesthetic value of musical listening that is more liberal than acousmatic experience allows. Speech perception presents uniquely difficult twists, and few philosophers have confronted it directly Appelbaum , Trout a, Matthen , ch 9, and Remez and Trout are recent exceptions.

Something striking and qualitatively distinctive—perhaps uniquely human—seems to set the perception of speech apart from ordinary hearing. The main philosophical issues about speech perception concern versions of the question, Is speech special? See O'Callaghan for a comprehensive review and discussion. How does perceiving speech differ from perceiving ordinary non-linguistic sounds? Listening to music and listening to speech each differ from listening to other environmental sounds in the following respect. In each case, one's interest in listening is to some degree distanced from the specific environmental happenings involved in the production of sounds.

But this is true of listening to music and of listening to speech for different reasons. In music, it is plausible that one's interest is in the sounds themselves, rather than in the sources of their production. However, speech is a vehicle for conventional linguistic meaning. In listening to speech, one's main interest is the meanings, rather than in the sources of sound. Ultimately, the information conveyed is what matters.

Nevertheless, according to the most common philosophical understanding, perceiving spoken utterances is just a matter of hearing sounds. The sounds of speech are complex audible sound structures. Listening to speech in a language you know typically involves grasping meanings, but grasping meanings requires first hearing the sounds of speech.

According to this account, grasping meanings itself is a matter of extra-perceptual cognition. The commonplace view—that perceiving speech is a variety of ordinary auditory perception that just involves hearing the sounds of speech—has been challenged in a number of ways. The challenges differ in respect of how speech perception is held to differ from non-linguistic audition. First, consider the objects of speech perception.

What are the objects of speech perception, and do they differ from those of ordinary auditory perception? According to the commonplace understanding, hearing speech involves hearing sounds. Thus, hearing spoken language shares perceptual objects with ordinary audition. Alternatively, one might hold that the objects of speech perception are not ordinary sounds at all. Perhaps they are language-specific entities, such as phonemes or words. Perhaps, as some have argued, perceiving speech involves perceiving articulatory gestures or movements of the mouth and vocal organs see the supplement on Speech Perception: Empirical and Theoretical Considerations.

Note that if audition's objects typically include distal events, speech in this respect is not special, since its objects do not belong to an entirely different kind from ordinary sounds. Second, consider the contents of speech perception. Does the content of speech perception differ from that of ordinary audition? If it does, how does the experience of perceiving speech differ from that of hearing ordinary sounds?

Perceiving speech might involve hearing ordinary sounds but auditorily ascribing distinctive features to them. These features might simply be, or comprise, finer grained qualitative and temporal acoustical details than non-linguistic sounds audibly possess. But perceiving speech also might involve perceiving sounds as belonging to language-specific types , such as phonemes, words, or other syntactic categories. Furthermore, speech perception's contents might differ in a more dramatic way from those of non-linguistic audition.

Listening with understanding to speech involves grasping meanings. The commonplace view is conservative. It holds that grasping meanings is an act of the understanding rather than of audition. Thus, the difference between the experience of listening to speech in a language you know and the experience of listening to speech in a language you do not know is entirely cognitive.

But one might think that there also is a perceptual difference. A liberal account of this perceptual difference holds that perceiving speech in a language you know may involve hearing sounds as meaningful or auditorily representing them as having semantic properties see, e. Alternatively, a moderately liberal account holds that the perceptual experience of speech in a language you know involves perceptually experiencing language-specific but nevertheless non-semantic features see O'Callaghan b.

Third, consider the processes responsible for speech perception. To what extent does perceiving speech implicate processes that are continuous with those of ordinary or general audition, and to what extent does perceiving speech involve separate, distinctive, or modular processes? While some defend general auditory accounts of speech perception see, e.

These arguments typically are grounded in several types of phenomena, including the multi modality of speech perception—visual cues about the movements of the mouth and tongue impact the experience of speech, as demonstrated by the McGurk effect see the section 4. A reasonable challenge is that each of these characteristics—multimodality, duplex perception, and top-down influence—also is displayed in general audition. Auditory perception of speech is influenced by cues from vision and touch see Gick et al. The McGurk effect in speech perception leads to an illusory auditory experience caused by a visual stimulus McGurk and Macdonald Do such multimodal effects occur in ordinary audition?

Visual and tactile cues commonly do shape auditory experience. The ventriloquist illusion is an illusory auditory experience of location that is produced by an apparent visible sound source see, e. Audition even impacts experience in other modalities. The sound-induced flash illusion involves a visual illusion as of seeing two consecutive flashes that is produced when a single visible flash is accompanied by two consecutive audible beeps Shams et al. Such crossmodal illusions demonstrate that auditory experience is impacted by other modalities and that audition influences other modalities.

In general, experiences associated with one perceptual modality are influenced by stimulation associated with other modalities. An important question is whether the impact is merely causal, or whether perception in one modality is somehow constitutively tied to other modalities. If, for instance, vision merely causally impacts your auditory experience of a given sound, then processes associated with audition might be proprietary and characterizable in terms that do not appeal to other modalities.

Suppose that such cross-modal illusions 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, and thereby 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.

This principled reconciliation of information drawn from different sensory sources suggests, first, that audition is governed by extra-auditory perceptual constraints. Second, since conflict requires a common subject matter, such constraints concern the common sources of stimulation to multiple senses.