The smell of nature: Olfaction, knowledge and the environment

Ethics, Place and Environment 3 (2):173 – 186 (2000)
Olfaction offers unique entry into the non-human world, but Western culture constrains such opportunities because of the dominance of the visual mode of perception. We begin by briefly reviewing philosophical arguments against olfaction as a reliable cognitive input. We then build a biological case for the similarity of non-human and human olfaction. Subsequently, we argue that some contemporary societies still make use of olfaction for organizing themselves in space and time. We end by suggesting that olfaction offers promise for advancing inquiry into the human-nature relationship that is so important to many environmental philosophers, scientists and activists.
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DOI 10.1080/713665886
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