Measuring the World: Olfaction as a Process Model of Perception

In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupré (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 337-356 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

How much does stimulus input shape perception? The common-sense view is that our perceptions are representations of objects and their features and that the stimulus structures the perceptual object. The problem for this view concerns perceptual biases as responsible for distortions and the subjectivity of perceptual experience. These biases are increasingly studied as constitutive factors of brain processes in recent neuroscience. In neural network models the brain is said to cope with the plethora of sensory information by predicting stimulus regularities on the basis of previous experiences. Drawing on this development, this chapter analyses perceptions as processes. Looking at olfaction as a model system, it argues for the need to abandon a stimulus-centred perspective, where smells are thought of as stable percepts, computationally linked to external objects such as odorous molecules. Perception here is presented as a measure of changing signal ratios in an environment informed by expectancy effects from top-down processes.

Similar books and articles

Odors, Objects and Olfaction.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):81-94.
Olfactory Objects.Clare Batty - 2014 - In S. Biggs, D. Stokes & M. Matthen (eds.), Perception and Its Modalities. Oxford University Press. pp. 222-245.
Object Concepts in the Chemical Senses.Richard J. Stevenson - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (7):1360-1383.
Olfactory Experience II: Objects and Properties.Clare Batty - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1147-1156.
Making Sense of Smell.Barwich Ann-Sophie - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 73 (2):41-47.
The smell of nature: Olfaction, knowledge and the environment.Daniel Press & Steven C. Minta - 2000 - Ethics, Place and Environment 3 (2):173 – 186.
Perception and neuroscience.Grant Gillett - 1989 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (March) 83 (March):83-103.
Smelling matter.Benjamin D. Young - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-18.
Smelling lessons.Clare Batty - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (1):161-174.
Sniffing and smelling.Louise Richardson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):401-419.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-06-26

Downloads
764 (#19,589)

6 months
124 (#27,465)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ann-Sophie Barwich
Indiana University, Bloomington

Citations of this work

Perceiving Smellscapes.Benjamin D. Young - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):203-223.

Add more citations