The Many Problems of Distal Olfactory Perception

In Tony Cheng, Ophelia Deroy & Charles Spence (eds.), Spatial Senses: Philosophy of Perception in an Age of Science. Routledge Press (2019)
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The chapter unfolds in the following sections. The first section exam- ines the reasons for claiming that olfactory perception is spatially unstruc- tured and our experience of smells has an abstract structure. The second section elucidates the further arguments that olfaction cannot generate figure-ground segregation. The third section assesses the conclusion that olfactory perception and experience cannot solve the MPP. Following the overview of the many problems inherent to distal olfactory percep- tion, MST will be introduced as an alternative perspective that allows for figure-ground segregation and perceiving multiple olfactory objects within an array. The chapter then concludes by replying to the shared argument that olfactory distal perception does not have the requisite res- olution to resolve the many properties problem.

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Benjamin D. Young
University of Nevada, Reno


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