Smelling Molecular Structure

In Steven Gouveia, Manuel Curado & Dena Shottenkirk (eds.), Perception, Cognition and Aesthetics. New York: Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy. pp. 64-84 (2019)
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There is consensus within the chemosciences that olfactory perception is of the molecular structure of chemical compounds, yet within philosophical theories of smell there is little agreement about the nature of smell. The paper critically assesses the current state of debate regarding smells within philosophy in the hopes of setting it upon firm scientific footing. The theories to be covered are: Naïve Realism, Hedonic Theories, Process Theory, Odor Theories, and non-Objectivist Theories. The aforementioned theories will be evaluated based on their explanations of the (a) the olfactory quality of a smell, (b) smells as distal entities, and (c) our experience of smells as intentional objects. The paper concludes with a defense of Molecular Structure Theory that demonstrating its superiority in accounting for each of these three aspects of smell.



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Benjamin D. Young
University of Nevada, Reno

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Consciousness and Experience.William G. Lycan - 1996 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Consciousness, color, and content.Michael Tye - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 113 (3):233-235.

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