Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 18 (2020)
We enjoy sounds. What about silence: the absence of sound? Certainly not all, but surely many of us seek out, attend to, and appreciate silence. But, if nothing is there, then there is nothing to possess aesthetic qualities that might engage aesthetic interest or reward aesthetic attention. This is at least puzzling, perhaps even paradoxical. In this paper, I attempt to dispel the sense of paradox and provide a way to understand aesthetic appreciation of silence. I argue that silence can have an aesthetic character and can sustain the kinds of rich experiences apt for aesthetic assessment and appraisal.