Philosophical Messages in the Medium of Spoken Language1
The psychology of spoken language offers philosophical lessons about the potential for seduction by phenomenology, and for our readiness to adopt a reductionist metaphysics in building theory. To expose these themes, this chapter examines the most vexing issues in the science of speech perception, drawing evidence from an assortment of ordinary cases, from speech perception by the deaf and the cochlear implant user, and from extraordinary speech perception evoked by synthetic acoustic patterns created specifically to be impossible to vocalise. The chapter then reviews the way in which dominant methods in the philosophy of mind use introspection, intuition, and reflection on phenomenal experience when drawing conclusions about the nature of perceptual experience. This contemporary research represents a substantial theory about how introspection and intuition work, a theory that can be wrong and shown to be so by appeal to empirical evidence.
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