Angst and the Empty Set

Suppose you open your handbag one day expecting to find your wallet there, but don’t. Do you literally see the absence of your wallet in your handbag? If you do, it means something important: Absences have a positive presence in your perception that you can grasp, independently from all ordinary things.

Anna Farennikova, a philosopher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has argued exactly this position. The phenomenology of the experience of seeing something missing, she says, has “immediate, perceptual qualities” that encourage us to see absences as being as fundamental as presences. Even though our visual experiences of absences absences, rather than deducing them.

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la Nautilus

Nautilus12 min cititeBiology
The Vast Viral World: What We Know (and Don’t Know): Exploring the minuscule and mysterious world of viruses.
Slightly ovoid in shape and somewhat blurred at the edges, the black splotches were scattered across a mottled gray background, looking much like a postmodern painting. At a meeting of the Medical Society of Berlin in 1938, Helmut Ruska, a German phy
Nautilus13 min citite
I Have Come to Bury Ayn Rand: A prominent evolutionary biologist slays the beast of Individualism.
My father, Sloan Wilson, wrote novels that would help define 1950s America. I loved and admired him, but the prospect of following in the footsteps of The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and A Summer Place was like being expected to climb Mount Everest.
Nautilus8 min cititePhysics
This Tenet Shows Time Travel May Be Possible: Director Christopher Nolan could take a tip from new research into “closed timelike curves.”
Time travel has been a beloved science-fiction idea at least since H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895. The concept continues to fascinate and fictional approaches keep coming, prodding us to wonder whether time travel is physically possible an