How Do We Differ When We Differ in Tastes?

Abstract

My partner loves the experiences she gets from eating olives. I, on the other hand, hate the experiences I get from eating olives. We differ in tastes. But how exactly do we differ? In particular: do our taste experiences differ phenomenologically—that is, do my olive-experiences feel different than my partner’s olive-experiences? Some philosophers have assumed that the answer is “no,” and have advanced important arguments which turn on this assumption. I argue that, contrary to what these philosophers assume, ordinary taste differences do involve differences in phenomenology. My olive-experiences feel different than my partner’s olive-experiences. I argue for this phenomenal thesis in stages. First, I argue that there is a link between our attitudes and our pleasures; second, I argue that there is a link between our pleasures and our phenomenology. Together, my conclusions link our attitudes and phenomenology in a way that vindicates the phenomenal thesis. Along the way, I fend off various worries about what the phenomenal thesis might entail. I show that it does not entail any form if radical subjectivism, nor does it entail that there is a “distinctive feeling of pleasure.” I close by considering how opponents of the phenomenal thesis might retreat to a weaker thesis: one which concerns extraordinary taste differences, as opposed to ordinary taste differences. I argue that there are no obviously sound arguments for even this weaker thesis, which should make us all the more confident in the phenomenal thesis.

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Author's Profile

Daniel Pallies
Lingnan University

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception.Bence Nanay - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Disagreements About Taste.Timothy Sundell - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):267-288.

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Citations of this work

The Pleasure Problem and the Spriggean Solution.Daniel Pallies - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-20.

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