The nonclassical mereology of olfactory experiences

Synthese 198 (1):867-886 (2019)
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While there is a growing philosophical interest in analysing olfactory experiences, the mereological structure of odours considered in respect of how they are perceptually experienced has not yet been extensively investigated. The paper argues that odours are perceptually experienced as having a mereological structure, but this structure is significantly different from the spatial mereological structure of visually experienced objects. Most importantly, in the case of the olfactory part-structure, the classical weak supplementation principle is not satisfied. This thesis is justified by referring to empirical results in olfactory science concerning the human ability to identify components in complex olfactory stimuli. Further, it is shown how differences between olfactory and visual mereologies may arise from the way in which these modalities represent space.

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Błażej Skrzypulec
Jagiellonian University


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