Grief, Smell and the Olfactory Air of a Person

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (4):769-790 (2023)
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Philosophical research into olfaction often focuses on its limitations. We explore instead an underappreciated capacity of the sense of smell, namely, its role in interpersonal experience. To illustrate this, we examine how smell can enable continuing connections to deceased loved ones. Understanding this phenomenon requires an appreciation of, first, how olfaction's limitations can facilitate experiences of the deceased person and, second, how olfaction enables experiences of what we refer to as the ‘olfactory air’ of a person. This way of experiencing someone privileges their status as an environmentally situated human animal.



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Becky Millar
Cardiff University
Louise Richardson
University of York

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The Constitution of Selves.Marya Schechtman (ed.) - 1996 - Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Signs.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 2018 - Chiasmi International 20:231-231.

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