Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 123–140 | Cite as

Perceiving the Locations of Sounds

  • Casey O’CallaghanEmail author


Frequently, we learn of the locations of things and events in our environment by means of hearing. Hearing, I argue, is a locational mode of perceiving with a robustly spatial phenomenology. I defend three proposals. First, audition furnishes one with information about the locations of things and happenings in one’s environment because auditory experience itself has spatial content—auditory experience involves awareness of space. Second, we hear the locations of things and events by or in hearing the locations of their sounds. Third, we auditorily experience sounds themselves as having relatively stable distal locations. I reject skepticism about spatial audition and auditory experience tracing to Strawson’s Individuals, and suggest that spatial auditory experience grounds a form of perceptual access to objects and events that is critical to negotiating one’s environment.


Sound Source Ordinary Object Auditory Experience Spatial Concept Auditory Space 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Barbara Shinn-Cunningham for several enjoyable conversations about spatial audition and the auditory experience of space. I would also like to thank two anonymous referees for extensive and extremely useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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