, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 175-186

On Privations and Their Perception

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Abstract

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.

This commentary was prepared for the author meets critics session on Roy Sorensen’s Seeing Dark Things at the 2010 Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Thanks to Roy Sorensen and Jonathan Westphal for correspondence and discussion.