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Experiencing Silence

  • Phillip John Meadows (a1)

Abstract

This paper identifies three claims that feature prominently in recent discussions concerning the experience of silence: (i) that experiences of silence are the most “negative” of perceptions, (ii) that we do not hear silences because those silences cause our experiences of silence, and (iii) that to hear silence is to hear a temporal region devoid of sound. The principal proponents of this approach are Phillips and Soteriou, and here I present a series of objections to common elements of their attempts to place these three claims within an account of experience of silence. The final section of the paper returns to the first of the three claims and argues that, in fact, there is no good reason to accept it as initially formulated. However, when properly formulated, the claim ceases to offer support for Phillips’s and Soteriou’s approach to experience of silence.

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References

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Aranyosi, István. 2013. “Silencing the Argument from Hallucination.” In Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology, edited by MacPherson, Fiona and Platchias, Dimitris255–69. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Casati, Roberto, and Dokic, Jerome. 2009. “Some Varieties of Spatial Hearing.” In Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays, edited by Nudds, Matthew and O’Callaghan, Casey, 97110. UK: Oxford University Press.
Cavedon-Taylor, Dan. 2017. “Touching Voids: On the Varieties of Absence Perception.” Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2): 355–66.
Meadows, Philip. 2018. “In Defense of Medial Theories of Sound.” American Philosophical Quarterly 55(3): 293302.
Nudds, Matthew. 2009. “Sounds and Space.” In Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays, edited by Nudds, Matthew and O’Callaghan, Casey, 6996. UK: Oxford University Press.
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O’Shaughnessy, Brian. 1957. “The Location of Sound,” Mind 66 (264): 471–90.
O’Shaughnessy, Brian. 2000Consciousness and the World. UK: Oxford University Press.
O’Shaughnessy, Brian. 2009. “The Location of a Perceived Sound.” In Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays, edited by Nudds, Matthew and O’Callaghan, Casey, 111–25. UK: Oxford University Press.
Phillips, I. (2013) “Hearing and Hallucinating Silence.” In Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology, edited by MacPherson, Fiona and Platchias, Dimitris333–60. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Roberts, Tom. 2016. “A Breath of Fresh Air: Absence and the Structure of Olfactory Perception.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97(3): 400–20.
Sorensen, R. 2008. Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows. UK: Oxford University Press.
Soteriou, M. 2011. “The Perception of Absence, Space, and Time.” In Perception, Causation, and Objectivity, edited by Roessler, Johannes, Lerman, Hemdat and Eilan, Naomi, 181206. UK: Oxford University Press.

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Experiencing Silence

  • Phillip John Meadows (a1)

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