Studies in Phenomenology

Article/Publication Details
Views: 913


Issue: HORIZON. Studies in Phenomenology.
Vol. 10, №1 (2021), 212-231
Language: English
Document type: Research Article
DOI : 10.21638/2226-5260-2021-10-1-212-231 PDF (Downloads: 354)

The Western philosophical and scientific tradition was and still is based on rationalism, objectivity, truths that are all sought from the ocularcentric paradigm. Many thinkers, however, have been recognising this perspective to be exclusive towards the other senses, and therefore insufficient. Listening, as enabled by the auditory sense, has a potential for revealing a deeper sense of being in the world. In this article listening is presented as a possible way towards inhabiting our life-world and nonetheless “to let things be.” In order to do so, an interdisciplinary approach of research is adopted. First, the author offers some perspectives from the field of the ethics of listening, where the thoughts of Lisbeth Lipari, Luce Irigaray and others expose listening as an intersubjective gesture of encounter with the other in acceptance. Through his philosophy of listening, Jean-Luc Nancy, one of the crucial voices in this study, offers an explication of how listening can be the force of liberating sense and senses. Further on, an account on auditory phenomenology is offered, combining it with and stressing the importance of Husserl’s understanding of intersubjectivity. These perspectives are then enriched with echoes from acoustic ecology and its experiences of listening to the environment. The reverberations of multiple voices presented in this text allow for an understanding of listening as an intersubjective and mutually constitutive activity. As such, it involves a liberation of sense and allows for an openness to being and beings.

listening, ethics of listening, Jean-Luc Nancy, auditory phenomenology, acoustic ecology, intersubjectivity, phenomenology of sound, silence.


  • Beard, D. (2009). A Broader Understanding of the Ethics of Listening: Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Media Studies and the Ethical Listening Subject. International Journal of Listening, 23 (1), 7–20.
  • Beyer, C. (2013). Edmund Husserl. In Edward N. Zalta et al. (Eds.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford: The Metaphysics Research Lab, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University. Retrieved from
  • Bjelica, M. (2020). Listening to Otherness: The Case of the Turkish Alevis. Annales, Series Historia et Sociologia, 30 (3), 367 - 382.
  • Hempton, G., & Grossmann, J. (2009). One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Free Press.
  • Husserl, E. (1960). Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology (D. Cairns, Trans.). The Hague, Boston, London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
  • Ihde, D. (2007). Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound. Albany: State University of New York.
  • Irigaray, L. (1996). I Love to You: Sketch for a Felicity Within History (A. Martin, Trans.). New York, London: Routledge.
  • Irigaray, L. (2008). Listening, Thinking, Teaching. In L. Irigaray & M. Green (Eds.), Luce Irigaray: Teaching (231–240). London, New York: Continuum.
  • Janus, A. (2011). Listening: Jean-Luc Nancy and the “Anti-Ocular” Turn in Continental Philosophy and Critical Theory. Comparative Literature, 63 (2), 182–202.
  • Jay, M. (1994). Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in the Twentieth-Century French Thought. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.
  • Kivle, I. (2018). Auditory Phenomena and Human Life: Phenomenological Experience. In W. S. Smith et al. (Eds.), Eco-Phenomenology: Life, Human Life, Post-Human Life and the Harmony of the Cosmos. Analecta Husserliana, CXXI, 367–373.
  • Koskinen, A.-L. C., & Lindström, U. Å. (2013). Listening to the Otherness of the Other: Envisioning Listening Based on a Hermeneutical Reading of Lévinas. International Journal of Listening, 27 (3), 146–156.
  • LaBelle, B. (2018). Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent forms of Resistance. London: Goldsmiths Press.
  • LaBelle, B. (2019). Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2nd ed.). New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Levinas, E. (1979). Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (A. Lingis, Trans.). Den Haag, Boston, London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
  • Lipari, L. (2009). Listening Otherwise: The Voice of Ethics. International Journal of Listening, 23 (1), 44–59.
  • Nancy, J.-L. (2007). Listening (C. Mandell, Trans.). New York: Fordham University Press.
  • Oddie, R. J. (2001). The Living Tissue: Environmental Phenomenology and Acoustic Ecology. Call to Earth, 2 (1), 8–12.
  • Schafer, R. M. (1994). The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (2nd ed.). Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books.
  • Voegelin, S. (2010). Listening to Noise and Silence: Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. New York and London: Continuum.
  • Voegelin, S. (2014). Sonic Possible Worlds: Hearing the Continuum of Sound. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic.