Olfactory Phenomenology: Pheromonal Affect and Atmospheric Attunement Open Access

Farina, Harrison Jacob (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/sn009z17m?locale=en


This thesis is a phenomenological analysis of smell perception. It attends to the difficulties in proceeding from existential phenomenology's typical question-structure ("how does smell present itself to experience?"), characteristic of "occularcentric" phenomenologies (ones that are correlationist and anthropocentric). Examining Martin Heidegger's concept of attunement ( Stimmung ) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty's writing on sensation, I argue that these two concepts are both preeminently "smell-like," yet they betray the smell phenomenon by culminating in a valorization of action, groundedness, and the self-enclosed subject. I present the pheromone, entrainment, and atmosphere as philosophical tools to reposition both attunement and the lived-body. An olfactory phenomenology will not only expound a "smelling subject," but will be the model for a more atmospheric subjectivity altogether. The main principles of an olfactory phenomenology will be moods, thresholds, diffusions, encounters, and affective atmospheres. This kind of phenomenology emphasizes material engagements and human/nonhuman entanglements.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Chapter 1: Mood and Chemical Affect. 13

Chapter 2: Propositions of an Olfactory Phenomenology. 59

Concluding Gestures. 87

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