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10 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

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Casey O'Callaghan will give a talk entitled “What’s To Fear in Losing a Sense? Our Senses as Sources of Value”. 


Abstract:  Many people fear the loss of one or more of their senses. This fear seems reasonable. It is daunting to imagine losing one’s ability to see, hear, touch, taste, or smell, whether due to accident, disease, or aging. Moreover, many people fear losing some sense modalities more others. It is common to favor sight or hearing over smell or taste. This, too, seems reasonable, as individuals seem to rely on some senses more than others. These observations raise two questions. Why fear losing or doing without a sense modality? And why fear losing some sense modalities more than others?  Pursuing answers to these questions draws attention to an underappreciated role for our senses as sources of meaning and value.

Casey O’Callaghan is Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in Saint Louis. O’Callaghan's research aims at an empirically informed philosophical understanding of perception that is driven by thinking about non-visual modalities and the relationships among the senses. His publications have focused upon auditory perception, speech perception, cross-modal illusions, multimodality, synesthesia, perceptual plasticity, sensory disabilities and diversity. O’Callaghan is author of Sounds: A Philosophical Theory (Oxford, 2007), Beyond Vision: Philosophical Essays (Oxford, 2017), and A Multisensory Philosophy of Perception (Oxford, 2019). He received a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University.

  • Anthony Allen
  • Rafael Green-Arnone

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