The Chemical Senses

In Mohan Matthen (ed.), The Oxford Handbook to Philosophy of Perception. New York, NY, USA: pp. 314-353 (2015)
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Abstract

Long-standing neglect of the chemical senses in the philosophy of perception is due, mostly, to their being regarded as ‘lower’ senses. Smell, taste, and chemically irritated touch are thought to produce mere bodily sensations. However, empirically informed theories of perception can show how these senses lead to perception of objective properties, and why they cannot be treated as special cases of perception modelled on vision. The senses of taste, touch, and smell also combine to create unified perceptions of flavour. The nature of these multimodal experiences and the character of our awareness of them puts pressure on the traditional idea that each episode of perception goes one or other of the five senses. Thus, the chemical senses, far from being peripheral to the concerns of the philosophy of perception, may hold important clues to the multisensory nature of perception in general.

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Barry C. Smith
School of Advanced Study, University of London

Citations of this work

The Problem of Perception.Tim Crane & Craig French - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Objects for multisensory perception.Casey O’Callaghan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1269-1289.

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References found in this work

The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2002 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Relativism and disagreement.John MacFarlane - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):17-31.
The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217):640-642.

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