A wide-ranging, insightful and long-overdue look at the bodily senses (touch, taste, smell) from the perspectives of (mostly) Anglo-American philosophy, especially as they apply to food and other objects of taste. Korsmeyer skillfully demonstrates both the historical disparagement of the carnal and the necessity of moving beyond an aesthetic that privleges the "higher, objective" senses of vision and hearing at the rest of the body's expense. She convincingly defends the sense of taste and the enjoyment of delicious foods as important aspects of existence, lays bare the intricate web of bias that has at times excluded the bodily, practical and/or domestic from philosophy, and demonstrates the relevance of this exclusion to key problems and debates that infuse the contemporary intellectual climate.
Her understanding of the philosophy of aesthetics is expansive and it shows in the wealth of material she engages in her critique. The arguments for and against taste as an aesthetic sense are lucid and detailed. Korsmeyer also includes many pertinent examples from daily life and experience, as well as physiology and psychology of perception. The quality of argument and example lead one to be truly astouded at how little esteem has been accorded by philosophers to food and its taste, such obviously integral parts of daily life as these are. The price that has been paid for this ignorance is well-demonstrated, along with the interests that have been (and continue to be) privleged by the repression of the sensual.
Some of the subject matter is rather specialized in nature, but the lay reader or gastronome will still find much here of interest, and the prose is clear, welcoming and generally quite fascinating. Any lover of food, and anyone who values their body, should understand the bias against the carnal in the intellectual history of the West, if only to be amazed and incensed to revolt. Any philosophers blind to these issues may now easily educate themselves via this topic and book thereon, one of doubtless personal relevance: their daily sustenance.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in taste (of food, and in general), aesthetics or the body, at the very least as a excellent survey of the key issues in this growing field of study.