Scents and Sensibilia

American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):103-118 (2010)
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Abstract

This paper considers what olfactory experience can tell us about the controversy over qualia and, in particular, the debate that focuses on the alleged transparency of experience. The appeal to transparency is supposed to show that there are no qualia—intrinsic, non-intentional and directly accessible properties of experience that determine phenomenal character. It is most commonly used to motivate intentionalism—namely, the view that the phenomenal character of an experience is exhausted by its representational content. Although some philosophers claim that transparency holds for all of the sense modalities, any detailed discussion of it focuses on vision. But transparency seems unintuitive for olfactory experience. This paper argues that olfactory experience is indeed transparent and that explanations of what transparency is have been obscured by a reliance on the visual model. In this way, the paper clarifies and advances the debate about transparency.

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Clare Batty
University of Kentucky

Citations of this work

Perceptual content and the content of mental imagery.Bence Nanay - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1723-1736.
A representational account of olfactory experience.Clare Batty - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):511-538.
Sniffing and smelling.Louise Richardson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):401-419.
Odors, Objects and Olfaction.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):81-94.

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References found in this work

Troubles with functionalism.Ned Block - 1978 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9:261-325.
The intrinsic quality of experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.
Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness.Joseph Levine - 2001 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
The transparency of experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2002 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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