Sound Ontology and the Brentano-Husserl Analysis of the Consciousness of Time

HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology 9 (1):184-215 (2020)
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Both Franz Brentano and Edmund Husserl addressed sound while trying to explain the inner consciousness of time and gave to it the status of a supporting example. Although their inquiries were not aimed at clarifying in detail the nature of the auditory experience or sounds themselves, they made some interesting observations that can contribute to the current philosophical discussion on sounds. On the other hand, in analytic philosophy, while inquiring the nature of sounds, their location, auditory experience or the audible qualities and so on, the representatives of that trend of thought have remained silent about the depiction of sound and the auditory phenomena in the phenomenological tradition. The paper’s intention is to relate both endeavours, yet the perspective carried out is that of analytic philosophy and, thus, I pay special attention to conceptual analysis as a methodological framework. In this sense, I first explain what sound ontology is in the context of analytic philosophy and the views that it encompasses— namely, the Property View (PV), the Wave View (WV) and the Event View (EV)—. Secondly, I address the problems it entails, emphasising that of sound individuation. In a third section, I propose the possibly controversial conjunction of a “Brentano-Husserl Analysis of the Consciousness of Time” (for short “Brentano-Husserl analysis”) and outline the commonalities of both authors, without ignoring its discrepancies. My main focus is Husserl’s 1905 Vorlesungen zur Phänomenologie des Inneren Zeitbewusstseins. While addressing the Brentano-Husserl analysis, I elaborate on the problem of temporal and spatial extension (Raumlichkeit and Zeitlichkeit, respectively) of both consciousness and sound. Such comparison is a key one, since after these two developments, one can notice some theoretical movements concerning the shift of attention from sounds to the unity of consciousness, and how they mirror each other. After examining the controversial claims concerning the temporal and spatial extension of both consciousness and sound, I argue in the concluding paragraphs that while considering the accounts of sound ontology, the Brentano-Husserl analysis would probably endorse a Property View and that this could have interesting consequences for the issue of Sound Individuation.

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Jorge Luis Méndez-Martínez
National Research University Higher School of Economics


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