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Phenomenal QualitiesSense, Perception, and Consciousness$
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Paul Coates and Sam Coleman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712718.001.0001

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Can Sounds Be Red?

Can Sounds Be Red?

A New Account of Synaesthesia as Enriched Experience

(p.376) 13 Can Sounds Be Red?
Phenomenal Qualities

Ophelia Deroy

Oxford University Press

Synaesthetes’ descriptions of experiences of coloured sounds are troubling for typical perceivers. Their phenomenological reports tend to be diverse and confusing. A way around this confusion is to analyse the experience of coloured sounds as the conjunction of two sensory contents experienced in isolation by typical perceivers, that is, as the conjunction of a typical auditory experience and of an additional colour experience. This analysis is perhaps the most attractive and frequent, in philosophy and in cognitive neuroscience, but is it the best way to capture the condition? This chapter considers an alternative account which makes more sense of both the synaesthetic reports and the empirical evidence, and opens new ways to look at the perceptual status of synaesthetic experiences. Synaesthesia covers cases where individuals enjoy a single, richer experience than typical perceivers: their experience of a sound is for instance enriched by a colour dimension.

Keywords:   synaesthesia, consciousness, perceptual content, illusion, multisensory

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