Conceptual Spaces at Work in Sensory Cognition: Domains, Dimensions and Distances

  • Carita ParadisEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 359)


This chapter makes use of two data sources, terminological schemas for wine descriptions and actual wine reviews, for the investigation of how experiences of sensory perceptions of vision, smell, taste and touch are described. In spite of all the great challenges involved in describing perceptions, professional wine reviewers are expected to be able to give an understandable account of their experiences. The reviews are explored with focus on the different types of descriptors and the ways their meanings are construed. It gives an account of the use of both property expressions, such as soft, sharp, sweet and dry and object descriptors, such as blueberry, apple and honey. It pays particular attention to the apparent cross-sensory use of descriptors, such as white aromas and soft smell, arguing that the ontological cross-over of sensory modalities are to be considered as symptoms of ‘synesthesia’ in the wine-tasting practice and monosemy at the conceptual level. In contrast to the standard view of the meanings of words for sensory perceptions, the contention is that it is not the case that, for instance, sharp in sharp smell primarily evokes a notion of touch; rather the sensory experiences are strongly interrelated in cognition. When instantiated in, say smell, soft spans the closely related sense domains, and the lexical syncretism is taken to be grounded in the workings of human sensory cognition.


Vision Smell Taste Touch Sensory perceptions Cross-sensory descriptions Sense Ontologies Construals 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Languages and LiteratureLund UniversityLundSweden

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