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Sounds and PerceptionNew Philosophical Essays$
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Matthew Nudds and Casey O'Callaghan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282968

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282968.001.0001

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Speech Sounds and the Direct Meeting of Minds 1

Speech Sounds and the Direct Meeting of Minds 1

(p.183) 9 Speech Sounds and the Direct Meeting of Minds1
Sounds and Perception

Barry C. Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses what happens when you hear noises as meaningful speech. The phenomenon is entirely familiar. When someone speaks within range, in a language you understand, you don't just hear their remarks as noises: you hear what is said. You have no choice but to experience the emitted noises as meaningful speech. But what account should philosophers and linguists give of this phenomenon. Speech sounds, linguists tell us, are not found in the world but in the minds of speakers who attach linguistic significance to particular acoustic signals. Philosophers, on the other hand, tell us that the meanings of words must be publicly available in overt speech behaviour, otherwise they would be private and incommunicable. How can we respect both these views while preserving the phenomenological claim that we hear meaning in people's speech?

Keywords:   sounds, speech, perception, meaning, linguistics

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