Perceiving Smellscapes

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):203-223 (2020)
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Abstract
We perceive smells as perduring complex entities within a distal array that might be conceived of as smellscapes. However, the philosophical orthodoxy of Odor Theories has been to deny that smells are perceived as having a distal location. Recent challenges have been mounted to Odor Theories’ veracity in handling the timescale of olfactory perception, how it individuates odors as a distal entities, and their claim that olfactory perception is not spatial. The paper does not aim to dispute these criticisms. Rather, what will be shown is that Molecular Structure Theory, a refinement of Odor Theory, can be further developed to handle these challenges. The theory is further refined by focusing on distal perception that requires considering the perceptual object as mereologically complex persisting odor against a background scene conceived of as a smellscape. What will be offered is an expansion of Molecular Structure Theory to account for distal smell perception within natural environments.
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Archival date: 2020-03-08
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2020-02-05

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