SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Can a physical account of sounds provide a good foundation for the understanding of listening to music?
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

Traditionally, philosophers of perception have focused their attention on vision, considered as the primary sense modality. The rapidity and the wealth of information supplied by vision explain this near-exclusivity. However, recently, a growing interest in studying the other sensory modalities (Casati and Dokic 1994, O'Callaghan 2007, Richardson 2011, Richardson 2013, Matthen 2014) and their interaction (O'Callaghan 2015) can be traced both in philosophical and scientific literature. Lately, auditory perception in particular becomes an important field of research.
Many issues are raised by investigation of hearing. They mainly concern the objects of audition and its phenomenology and spatiality. Also, the study of similarities and dissimilarities between hearing and vision supplies interesting results. Philosophy of auditory perception contemplates also research into speech perception and musical listening.
Scruton (2009, 2010) offers an original account of sounds to answer the question about the nature of the objects of audition. He affirms that sounds are secondary objects and pure events. In this view, sounds can be heard as entities unrelated to their causal sources. Scruton calls it the acusmatic experience of sounds and claims that is essential to listening to music. According to this view, physical theories of sounds are unmotivated and they can't explain "the internal logic of the music line" (Scruton 2009, 64).
The aim of my talk is to demonstrate that accepting an account of sounds as secondary objects and pure events is not necessary for a good understanding of listening to music. I argue that supporting one or other physical theory of sounds does not involve ignoring the aesthetic and social values of music.

Chair: Katsiaryna Suryna
Time: 11:20-11:50, 13 September 2018 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003

Giulia Lorenzi 
(University of Bergamo, Italy)

I am a young researcher with first degrees and master degrees both in philosophy and music. My final dissertation for the philosophy master centres on distal theories of sounds as events. I am generally interested in philosophy of perception, in particular in philosophy of auditory perception. My interests concern the metaphysics of sounds and silence, the perception of space and time through audition and vision, the interaction and the analogy among the sensory modalities and their functioning, the conceptual content of perception and the perception of speeches and words.

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