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SoundsA Philosophical Theory$
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Casey O'Callaghan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215928.001.0001

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The Argument from Vacuums

The Argument from Vacuums

Chapter:
(p.47) 4 The Argument from Vacuums
Source:
Sounds
Author(s):

Casey O'Callaghan (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215928.003.0004

If sounds are distal events that do not pass through the medium, what is the role of the medium? Is the medium a necessary condition on the existence of a sound, or is it merely a necessary condition on the perceptibility of a sound (as light is a necessary condition for the perceptibility, but not the existence, of a color instance)? This chapter contends that sounds require a medium by arguing that certain audible qualities are medium-relative. An important distinction between normative standards for perceiving visible versus audible qualities allows us to draw the stronger conclusion that no sounds exist in vacuums.

Keywords:   vacuum, audible qualities, medium-relative, distal events, perceptibility of sound

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