New Ideas in Psychology 47:157-165 (2017)

Ann-Sophie Barwich
Indiana University, Bloomington
Is the sense of smell a source of aesthetic perception? Traditional philosophical aesthetics has centered on vision and audition but eliminated smell for its subjective and inherently affective character. This article dismantles the myth that olfaction is an unsophisticated sense. It makes a case for olfactory aesthetics by integrating recent insights in neuroscience with traditional expertise about flavor and fragrance assessment in perfumery and wine tasting. My analysis concerns the importance of observational refinement in aesthetic experience. I argue that the active engagement with stimulus features in perceptual processing shapes the phenomenological content, so much so that the perceptual structure of trained smelling varies significantly from naive smelling. In a second step, I interpret the processes that determine such perceptual refinement in the context of neural decision-making processes, and I end with a positive outlook on how research in neuroscience can be used to benefit philosophical aesthetics.
Keywords Olfaction  Smell  Aesthetic Perception  Neuroaesthetics  decision making  cognitive penetration  Wine tasting  Perception  Perfumery  Neurosciene
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References found in this work BETA

Categories of Art.Kendall L. Walton - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (3):334-367.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Critique of Olfactory Objects.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
Spatial Aspects of Olfactory Experience.Solveig Aasen - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (8):1041-1061.

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