On what we experience when we hear people speak

Phenomenology and Mind 10:58-85 (2016)
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According to perceptualism, fluent comprehension of speech is a perceptual achievement, in as much as it is akin to such high-level perceptual states as the perception of objects as cups or trees, or of people as happy or sad. According to liberalism, grasp of meaning is partially constitutive of the phenomenology of fluent comprehension. I here defend an influential line of argument for liberal perceptualism, resting on phenomenal contrasts in our comprehension of speech, due to Susanna Siegel and Tim Bayne, against objections from Casey O'Callaghan and Indrek Reiland. I concentrate on the contrast between the putative immediacy of meaning-assignment in fluent comprehension, as compared with other, less ordinary, perhaps translation-based ways of getting at the meaning of speech. I argue this putative immediacy is difficult to capture on a non-perceptual view (whether liberal or non-liberal), and that the immediacy in question has much in common with that which applies in other, less controversial cases of high-level perception.
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Archival date: 2016-09-23
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