Silence Perception and Spatial Content

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):524-538 (2022)
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It seems plausible that visual experiences of darkness have perceptual phenomenal content that clearly differentiates them from absences of visual experiences. I argue, relying on psychological results concerning auditory attention, that the analogous claim is true about auditory experiences of silence. More specifically, I propose that experiences of silence present empty spatial directions like ‘right’ or ‘left’, and so have egocentric spatial content. Furthermore, I claim that such content is genuinely auditory and phenomenal in the sense that one can, in principle, recognize that one is experiencing silence. This position is far from obvious, as the majority of theories concerning silence perception do not ascribe perceptual phenomenal content to experiences of silence.

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Błażej Skrzypulec
Jagiellonian University


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