Professor Barry C. Smith

Contact details

Professor Barry C. Smith
M.A. Ph.D.
Director of the Institute of Philosophy
Institute of Philosophy
Senate House Malet Street London WC1E 7HU
020 7862 8682
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Philosophy, Social Sciences
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Barry C Smith is a professor of philosophy and director of the Institute of Philosophy as well as the founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists. Barry was appointed Leadership Fellow for the AHRC Science in Culture Theme in 2012. He is a philosopher of language and mind who has published on self-knowledge, linguistic knoweldge, consciousness, the emotions, taste and smell. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Califonia at Berkeley and the Ecole Normale Superiéure in Paris. He now works mainly on the multisensory perception of flavour and has published in Nature and Food Quality and Preference, as well as carrying out consultancy work for the food and drinks industry. In 2007, he edited Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine, Oxford University Press 2007), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language, Oxford University Press 2008 (with Ernest Lepore), and Knowing Our Own Minds Oxford University Press 1998 (with Crispin Wright and Cynthia Macdonald). He has appeared frequently on BBC Radio’s In Our Time and Nightwaves, and also on Start the Week. And in 2010, he was the writer and presenter of a four-part series for the BBC World Service called The Mysteries of the Brain. He is also the wine columnist for Prospect Magazine.



Spoken Written
French Intermediate Intermediate
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
29-Jul-2017 Tasting and Liking: Multisensory Flavour Perception and Hedonic Evaluation

Edited Book

 In 'The Taste Culture Reader Experiencing Food and Drink', edited by Carolyn Korsmeyer, published by Bloomsbury Academic; ISBN: 9780857856982


01-Jan-2016 Proust, the Madeleine and Memory


 Memory in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Sebastian Groes, New Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities and the Sciences, Palgrave Macmillan 2015

01-Jan-2016 Crossmodal correspondences: four challenges. Multisensory Research

Journal articles

09-Nov-2015 '‘The Chemical Senses


 The Oxford Handbook to Philosophy of Perception, edited by M.Matthen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)

15-May-2015 Bouba-Kiki in the plate: combining crossmodal correspondences to change flavour experience

 Flavour 2015, 4:22

28-Feb-2015 What Wittgenstein would have said about that dress


 BBC News Website

04-Nov-2014 What Does Metacognition Do for Us


 Philosophy and Phenomenological Review, Vo. 89, Issue 3, 2014: 727-735

01-Nov-2014 British Abolitionists and the End of Slavery in Brazil


 Institute for the Study of the Americas

20-Feb-2014 Airplane noise and the taste of Umami

Journal articles

Spence, Charles, Michel, Charles and Smith, Barry, Airplane noise and the Taste of Umami, Flavour, 3:2, 2014.

29-Nov-2013 Grape Expectations: How the proportion of white grape in Champagne affects the ratings of experts and social drinkers in a blind tasting

Journal articles

Harrar, Vanessa, Smith, Barry, Deroy, Ophelia and Spence, Charles, Grape Expectations: How the proportion of white grape in Champagne affects the ratings of experts and social drinkers in a blind tasting, Flavour,2: 25, 2013.

17-Apr-2013 ‘Relativism, Disagreement and Predicates of Personal Taste’,

in: F.Recanati, I.Stojanovic, N.Villanueva (eds) Context-dependence, Perspective and Relativity. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG

01-Dec-2012 Davidson, Interpretation and First-person Constraints on Meaning


in Davidson: Life and Work, ed. M.Bagrhamian

Taylor and Francis

01-Jan-2012 Perspective: Complexities of Flavour


 S 6 | N AT U R E | VO L 4 8 6 | 2 1 J U N E 2 0 1 2


01-Jan-2012 Empathie et perception des valuers

Journal articles

in Dialogue 51 (2012), 1– 9

Canadian Philosophical Association

01-Jan-2012 The Publicity of Meaning and the Interiority of Mind


Mind, Meaning and Knowledge. Themes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright, ed. A. Coliva, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012

01-Jan-2012 The Sensory and the Multisensory


 This Will Make You Smarter, ed. John Brockman (2012 Harper Perennial)

01-Jan-2011 The True Taste of a Wine?


 Wine Active Compounds: Proceedings of the WAC2011 International Conference, ed. David Chassagne & Regis D.

 Gougeon, Oenopluria Media, 2011, pp.283-6

01-Jan-2009 Speech Sounds the Meeting of Minds


 New Essays on Sound and Perception, eds. M.Nudds and C.O’Callaghan, Oxford University Press 2009

01-Jan-2007 The Objectivity of Tastes and Tasting


 Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine,ed. Barry C. Smith (Oxford University Press, NY, 2007), pp.41-77

01-Jan-2007 ‘What We Mean, What We Think We Mean and How Language Surprises Us’

in: B. Soria and E. Romero (eds) Explicit Communication, Robyn Carston’s Pragmatics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

01-Jan-2007 Questions of Taste: the philosophy of wine

Edited Book

ed. Barry C. Smith Oxford NY: Oxford University Press

21-Sep-2006 WINE


 The Oxford Companion to Aesthetics, 2nd edition 2014

01-Jan-2006 The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

Edited Book

eds. E. Lepore & B.C. Smith Oxford: Oxford University Press

01-Jan-1998 Knowing Our Own Minds

edited with Crispin Wright and Cynthia Macdonald, (Oxford)

Consultancy reports:

Date Details
2012 Courvoisier - Le Nez de Courvoisier

 Le Nez de Courvoisier film on You Tube

 Le Nez de Courvoisier - APP

2012 The Colour of Wine - Champagne Assembly Day

 Report of experiments on colour of grapes in Mumm and Perrier-Jouet Champage presented at Champagne Assembly Day 2012

Research Projects & Supervisions

Research projects:

Network for Sensory Research

A SSHRC funded Partnership grant creating a Network for Sensory Research involving Toronto, Harvard, MIT, Glasgow and the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the Institute of Philosophy

Probabilities, Propensities and conditionals: implications for logic and empirical science

The study is for a complex and interlocking set of topics in the philosophy of science, logic, and the foundations of probability and statistics, and of quantum mechanics. The focus of the project is on important and unexplored connections between objective probability, physical propensities, and the logic of conditional statements. The main expected outcome is an improved understanding of the nature of probability and its role in the empirical sciences, particularly in relation to quantum physics. The topics are of great current interest and relevance across a number of disciplines, including philosophy of science, logic, probability and statistics, and the foundations of quantum physics. There are further potential applications to computer science, statistical methodology, scientific modelling, and causal inference. The project is very carefully structured in a number of work packages with a number of specific objectives and deliverables for each: i) propensities and dispositions, ii) the logic of conditionals, iii) conditional probability and the probability of conditionals, iv) propensities and conditionals, v) alternative calculi of probability, vi) applications to foundations of quantum mechanics, vii) further applications, and viii) historical developments.

Science in Culture Leadership Fellowship

 The ‘Science in Culture’ theme aims to develop the reciprocal relationship between science disciplines and the arts and humanities. The sciences and the arts and humanities often seek to answer very different kinds of questions about human nature, the nature of the world we live in as well as the relationship between the two. Sometimes, however, the questions we seek to answer do not neatly fall within the remit of one or the other. Arts and humanities research can help us answer questions such as:

• What are the nature, value and scope of scientific research?
• What roles do culture, imagination, argumentation, creativity, discovery and curiosity play in scientific enquiry?
• How might the arts and humanities engage with the sciences as systems of knowledge from the perspective of their cultural context, development and impact?
• How might such interaction enhance public engagement and educational approaches, and inform policy debates?

Sensory Exploration

British Academy Latin-American Caribbean Link Grant

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
AHRC Leadership Fellow for Science in Culture Theme Leading on Science in Culture Theme


Name Type Activity Start date End date
Co-investigator on SSHRC Network for Sensory Research Network Partnership with Toronto, Harvard, MIT and Glasgow Workshops and Conferences on Multisensory Integration 01-Sep-2010 01-Sep-2013
Consultancy & Media
Available for consultancy:
Media experience:
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