Aristotle was wrong and so are we: there are far more than five senses
Scientists have long known that there’s much more to our experience than the five senses (or ‘outward wits’) described by Aristotle – hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. Yet the myth of five senses persists, perhaps because a clearer understanding of our sensory experience at the neurological level has only recently started to take shape. In this instalment of Aeon’s In Sight series, the British philosopher Barry C Smith argues that the multisensory view of human experience that’s currently emerging in neuroscience could make philosophising about our senses much more accurate, and richer, allowing philosophers to complement the work of scientists in important ways. But first, philosophy must catch up to the major advances being made in brain science.
Barry Smith hosted a sensory workshop, called ‘Wine Tasting and Philosophy’, at HowTheLightGetsIn London, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, and a friend of Aeon, this September. Participants were taken on a ride through the weird world of the senses, meditating on the scent, touch, and taste of wine, sweets, coffee beans and more. HowTheLightGetsIn returns to Hay-on-Wye, Wales, next May for more philosophical fun. Tickets are available here: howthelightgetsin.org/hay
Producer: Kellen Quinn
Interviewer: Nigel Warburton
Editor: Adam D’Arpino
Assistant Editor: Daphne Rustow