December 17, 2021

Constitutivity in Flavour Perception

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Abstract

Within contemporary philosophy of perception, it is commonly claimed that flavour experiences are paradigmatic examples of multimodal perceptual experiences. In fact, virtually any sensory system, including vision and audition, is believed to influence how we experience flavours. However, there is a strong intuition, often expressed in these works, that not all of these sensory systems make an equal contribution to the phenomenology of flavour experiences. More specifically, it seems that the activities of some sensory systems are constitutive for flavour perception while others merely influence how we experience flavours. This paper aims to answer the question regarding the constitutive factors of flavour perception in a twofold way. First, a theoretical framework is developed, relying on debates regarding constitutivity in analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science, which defines the stronger and weaker senses in which the activities of sensory systems may be constitutive for flavour perception. Second, relying on empirical results in flavour science, the constitutive status of activities related to distinct sensory systems in the context of flavour perception is investigated.

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