Acta Analytica

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 175-186

First online:

On Privations and Their Perception

  • Casey O’CallaghanAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Rice University Email author 

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Despite its admirable bottom-up methodology, Roy Sorensen's Seeing Dark Things (OUP, 2008) raises difficult theoretical questions concerning the metaphysics and perception of absences. Metaphysical difficulties include how to individuate, count, locate, and classify absences, and what determines their features. Perceptual difficulties include how to distinguish experiences of absences and presences, especially when nonveridical, and what subjects contribute to perceptual experience according to Sorensen's causal theory. In addition to articulating these difficulties, this paper also presents and explores, on Sorensen's terms, an alternative account of silence.


Absences Silence Sound Perceptual awareness