The Psychology of Sound

The Psychology of Sound

The Psychology of Sound

The Psychology of Sound

Excerpt

The end and aim of the study of hearing is to explain it. Everyone may be supposed to know what is meant by explanation, so that it is usually considered superfluous to state what that meaning is, especially in the introduction to a scientific book. We expect explanation to follow of itself from a full and correct statement or description of the facts and their connexions. Indeed a thinking mind usually desires no more than this. Not that the thinking mind delights in prosaic formulations. Far from it; it supplies for itself the poetry or the atmosphere; the mere statement of the facts and their connexions arouses this atmosphere. And by atmosphere we mean the sympathetic surroundings, kindred facts and connexions from other spheres of reality. Thus explanation seems really to mean the full and correct classification of facts and their connexions, so that they may be grouped by the mind along with already established sets of facts and connexions of a similar kind.

But more than this is usually required by the scientist. He has also to show how his system of facts is connected with those that surround it in the world of reality. Or if only a part of the events he is interested in can be fully and correctly described, he is required to show to the best of knowledge and belief what set of facts and connexions, or in a word what set of processes, already observed and familiar in other regions, occupy the unobserved regions of the events he studies. Or he endeavours to clarify Iris thought of one set of facts etc. by his already clear thought of other sets of facts etc. This effort of scientific thought is known as theory and in its incipient stages as hypothesis.

The study of hearing therefore begins with the statements of the facts of hearing and their connexions. These are wholly and solely matters of experience; they are psychical. For hearing means experiencing. A clear statement of these facts will call up in the mind of the thinking reader similar facts and connexions from other departments of experience, especially from the fellow processes of hearing,--the other senses. And here again these facts will be wholly and solely psychical. Where the facts of heating cannot be observed or have not yet been successfully observed, the study of hearing will feel impelled to draw . . .

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