A place at the table: Giving gustatory aesthetics its due
Decker, Brock James Scheffel
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Vision and hearing have been given metaphysical, epistemic, moral and aesthetic preference over the gustatory senses since the very beginnings of Western philosophy. This unjustified prejudice has directed philosophical inquiry away from taste and smell, and the values and interests of those concerned with them. I confront the metaphysical and epistemic prejudices that have hindered work in this field by accepting an oblique invitation from David Hume to pursue a gustatory aesthetics of taste. I attempt to add a framework to further discussion of gustatory experience by arguing that taste and smell are cognitively configurable senses capable of bifurcated intentionality and that the taste perception of states of affairs is influenced both by culture and personal preference. Further, I argue that taste perceptions admit of an aesthetic standard. By showing that this framework can explain and discriminate between untrained and expert taste experiences, and that it is supported by both a Humean aesthetic and by my proposed model of taste, I hope to contribute a perspective free from traditional prejudice for future work in the philosophy of taste.