The Method of Contrast and the Perception of Causality in Audition

In Fabio Bacchini at al (ed.), New Advances in Causation, Agency and Moral Responsibility. pp. 79-93 (2014)
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Abstract

The method of contrast is used within philosophy of perception in order to demonstrate that a specific property could be part of our perception. The method is based on two passages. I argue that the method succeeds in its task only if the intuition of the difference, which constitutes the core of the first passage, has two specific traits. The second passage of the method consists in the evaluation of the available explanations of this difference. Among the three outlined options, I will demonstrate that only in the third option – as we shall see, the case of the scenario that remains the same but is perceived in two different ways by the same perceiver – the intuition purports a difference that posses the necessary characteristics, namely being immediately evident and extremely complex and multifaceted, which determine its tensive nature. The application within auditory perception of this third option will generate two cases, a diachronic one and a synchronic one, which clearly show that we can auditorily perceive causality as a link between two sonorous episodes. The causal explanation is the only possible explanation among the many evaluated within the second passage of the method of contrast.

Author's Profile

Elvira Di Bona
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute - Polonsky Academy

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