L (New Series: VI)
Issued: 15th May 2013
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German
Anosmia is a sensory disability that consists of the inability to perceive odours. The sense of smell can be lost at any time during life, but people suffering from congenital anosmia, as I do, have never had any experience of smelling. My question is whether such an impairment of olfaction impoverishes aesthetic appreciation or makes it different in any way. I hypothesize that congenital anosmia entails two different kinds of loss in aesthetic appreciation. In order to test my hypothesis, I address modern and contemporary aesthetic theory. Finally, I claim that congenital anosmia constitutes an impoverishment, but also ask
whether it can be compensated for by dialogue and imagination. I further inquire as to whether it can foster a more self-critical aesthetic appreciation, more conscious of the powers and limits of our senses.