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Smelling matter

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While the objects of olfaction are intuitively individuated by reference to the ordinary objects from which they arise, this intuition does not accurately capture the complex nature of smells. Smells are neither ordinary three-dimensional objects, nor Platonic vapors, nor odors. Rather, smells are the molecular structures of chemical compounds within odor plumes. Molecular Structure Theory is offered as an account of smells, which can explain the nature of the external object of olfactory perception, what we experience as olfactory objects, and what determines the olfactory quality of smells by which we can demarcate the spatiotemporal boundaries of smells.
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Keywords: Molecular Structure Theory; object of perception; odor theory; odors; olfaction; perceptible object; smells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Cognitive Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Publication date: May 18, 2016

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