Chapter

What Is a Sound?

Casey O'Callaghan

in Sounds

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199215928
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191706875 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215928.003.0002
 What Is a Sound?

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Two theories of sound stem from philosophical and scientific traditions. The philosophical view that counts sounds among sensible or secondary qualities, with colors and tastes, fails because sounds last through time and survive change. Furthermore, the identities of certain sounds are tied to patterns of change through time. Sounds are particular individuals that bear audible qualities, such as pitch, timbre, and loudness, and persist. The scientific view that treats sounds as waves is thus best understood as the view that sounds are event-like, rather than object-like, particulars whose locations in the medium change over time.

Keywords: secondary qualities; sensible qualities; waves; persistence; events; objects

Chapter.  5240 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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