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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

(p.47) 4 The Argument from Vacuums

Casey O'Callaghan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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