Sense Perception and Synaesthesia: Debating a New Sensory Aesthetics

Ragna Winniewski

Abstract


Modern aesthetics regard sight and hearing as the only senses capable of producing knowledge and art. Touch, smell and taste might offer pleasant stimuli, but can never achieve the status of art objects. Hence, aesthetics of touch, smell and taste are neglected and the arts of perfume making, urban design, cooking, etc. become marginalized. What are the arguments for this rejection, and are they still sustainable? Traditional theorizing about the senses is hindered by their neglect and, consequently, by a lack of an integrated sensory approach. This dissertation examines contemporary findings in neuroscience and philosophy to postulate a new approach for a sensory aesthetics. In particular, the phenomenon of synaesthesia with its implications and limitations is addressed. For perception to be properly understood, we must develop an understanding of the senses as working together to create a unified whole.


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