- 美学 (ISSN:05200962)
- vol.61, no.1, pp.25-36, 2010
Scholars in many disciplines have talked about the "hegemony of vision" in the modern Western culture and philosophy. We also know that the most critical issue of modern philosophy of perception had been the compatibility between vision and touch, as viewed in the prolonged discussion of Molyneux's Question. But, on the contrary, we know very little about the significance of audition and hearing in the tradition of modern philosophy. This paper is thus intended as a historical sketch of the status of hearing, examining the texts of three philosophers. For Herder, the ear is the most nearest sense to the soul, and the audition stands in the middle of our five senses, dominating the others. But, at the same time, he also attaches great importance to touch, inheriting the tradition of Molyneux's Question, and therefore presupposes a kinship between hearing and touch. Kant exiles the ear from his conception of the critique of judgment, preferring the eye as a normative sense for disinterested and formal judgment. But he emphasizes a moral function of the ear in his critique of practical reason, as an organ hearing the voice of reason, i.e. the divine voice. The ear, finally, gains a definitive advantage over the eye with Hegel. He describes the progress of Romantic art from painting to music as a process of the "negation of dimension." In his view, time is negation (or sublation) form of space, and equally the audition is that of vision. We can say therefore that the hypothetical "hegemony of vision" was never stable, and the status of seeing has always been challenged and undermined by the hearing in the course of modern philosophy.