Can the word absent be used to refer to a thing? We say absent logic (idea, concept) absent person...etc. But does it sound correct to say absent chair, book (rather than missing). I know that absent and missing have different connotations and usages. "The chair is absent" gives different shades of meaning than "the chair is missing". But does the word absent collocate with things?
Absent certainly can be applied to a thing, or even a person:
I tried to sit down, but the chair was absent.
You were absent from yesterday's meeting.
The main difference between absent and missing is that missing implies the thing, person, or concept, was meant to be present, or cannot be found where as absent simply implies the thing is not there. Absent can be used in practically in situation where missing is appropriate, but missing more specific than absent.
I had a gift for you, but you were absent, so I threw it away.
I had a gift for you, but you were missing, so I threw it away.
In the first example, the person simply wasn't present, but we don't know why. Perhaps they weren't expected to be there at all. In the second example, the person was clearly expected to be there, but they weren't. They may have been home ill, or abducted by aliens. In any case, their presence was expected, but they weren't there.
Absence implies that we may have no requirement for the presence of the entity. Missing implies that such requirement exists. In either case our knowledge of the whereabouts of the entity (other than the fact that the entity is not present) is irrelevant. The absence of an entity may well be an anticipated condition while missing implies an exception.
"Absent players will have their hands mucked when the action is on them. Missing players' hands will be 'checked' if no other action is required of them" is a rule in tournament poker concerning what to do when players are not present and it is their turn to "act". In this rule, players who are known to be absent from the facility are eliminated from the hand while players that are temporarily away from their seats are treated differently.