Building nothing out of something



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The notion of absence is pervasive throughout and central to human language and thought. Such thought and talk is often taken quite seriously. Much has been done to motivate treating absences as genuine entities, things as real as the tables and chairs we encounter in everyday life. Unfortunately, not nearly as much attention has been paid to the question of what kinds of things absences could be if indeed there were such things. In this dissertation, I take up the metaphysical question involving the nature of absences, and I also carefully consider the ontological question of whether any kind of case can be made for reifying absences. Along the way, I develop a novel metaphysical account of absences, and examine various considerations from the realms of causation, perception, and truthmaking that putatively support treating absences as bona fide entities.