A Sense So Rare: Measuring Olfactory Experiences and Making a Case for a Process Perspective on Sensory Perception

Biological Theory 9 (3):258-268 (2014)
Authors
Ann-Sophie Barwich
Columbia University
Abstract
Philosophical discussion about the reality of sensory perceptions has been hijacked by two tendencies. First, talk about perception has been largely centered on vision. Second, the realism question is traditionally approached by attaching objects or material structures to matching contents of sensory perceptions. These tendencies have resulted in an argumentative impasse between realists and anti-realists, discussing the reliability of means by which the supposed causal information transfer from object to perceiver takes place. Concerning the nature of sensory experiences and their capacity to provide access to reality, this article challenges the standard categories through which most arguments in this debate have been framed to date. Drawing on the underexplored case of olfaction, I first show how the details of the perception process determine the modalities of sensory experiences. I specifically examine the role of measurement and analyze its influence on the characterization of perceptions in olfaction. My aim is to argue for an understanding of perception through a process view, rather than one pertaining to objects and properties of objects.
Keywords olfaction  smell  odor  perception  process philosophy  sensory measurement  philosophy of science  philosophy of perception
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-014-0165-z
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References found in this work BETA

Smelling Matter.Benjamin D. Young - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-18.
The Problem of Perception.Tim Crane - 2005 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Discovery That Water is H2O.Paul Needham - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (3):205 – 226.
A Representational Account of Olfactory Experience.Clare Batty - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):511-538.

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Citations of this work BETA

Spatial Aspects of Olfactory Experience.Solveig Aasen - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-21.
Smelling Objects.Becky Millar - forthcoming - Synthese.
Olfactory Objecthood.Błażej Skrzypulec - forthcoming - Philosophia.

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