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Why We Have Two Ears: Particularized Meaning Beyond Language or the Benefits of Musicalization in Research

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Abstract

Meaning-making is primarily provided by language. This is the benefit of the human capacity, specifically to communicate precisely and accurately through words by disposing and organizing them in line with well-formed grammatical structures. However, there are situations in which meaning is not provided by words but just by other sense impressions. Music is one example, but even in verbal conversation there are some aspects of meaning that is not provided by words at all. This chapter pursues the latter perspective by analysing a text that depicts the communication of an Amazonian boatman. The findings provide four different levels of analysis. Level 1, which focuses on narratives, concludes that what is told in the conversation between the boatman and the dwellers along the bank is subordinate to the sound of telling. Level 2, which focuses on space, concludes that a proper image of space depends on a combination of impressions derived from seeing, hearing, and touching in a synesthetic unity. Level 3, which is about the individual, concludes that all the different sense impressions presupposes a process of unification that synesthesia may account for. Level 4, which is about human sociality, concludes that a Gadamerian understanding of sensus communis very effectively summarizes the content of the text.

Keywords

  • History of psychology
  • Musicology
  • Music and psychology
  • Philosophy of science
  • Methodology

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Correspondence to Sven Hroar Klempe .

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Klempe, S.H. (2022). Why We Have Two Ears: Particularized Meaning Beyond Language or the Benefits of Musicalization in Research. In: Watzlawik, M., Salden, S. (eds) Courageous Methods in Cultural Psychology. Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_3

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