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Matters of Taste: The Neuroscience and Philosophy of Taste

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September 20 – 23 , 2015 at Cloister Heiligkreuztal


DEADLINE: July 15, 2015


“De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum,” was a maxim of scholastic philosophy, stating that matters of taste can’t be rationally solved. But we are talking endlessly about matters of taste and find no trouble disputing our aesthetic judgments. This might be a hint that taste is not one single and simple thing. And indeed all matters of taste are located within a vast spectrum of possibilities: On one end of this spectrum we find divergent, subjective attitudes and evaluations which seem to be irreconcilable between the involved subjects, and on the other end there are qualities, like the sweetness of sugar, which we tend to see as properties of the tasted objects.

In this years summer school we want to approach the conceptual and cognitive problems surrounding the phenomenon of taste from a philosophical and neuroscientifical perspective. Our goal is to learn about the concept of taste, the neurological process involved in tasting, and the external factors which modulate them.


Dr. Hubert Preissl, Tübingen

Hubert Preissl is head of the metabolic neuroimaging group at the Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen. He is interested in sensory and psychological factors influencing food choices.

Prof. Dr. Edmund Rolls, Oxford/Warwick

Edmund Rolls is a psychologist and neuroscientist at Oxford’s Centre for Computational Neuroscience as well as a honorary fellow at the University of Warwick. His research interests include the processing of taste and olfactory information by the brain.

Prof. Dr. Barry Smith, London

Barry Smith is director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of London and founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses. He works on the philosophy of taste and smell.

Prof. Dr. Charles Spence, Oxford

Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford, he is interested in rich multisensory experiences such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch.

Dr. Maartje Spetter, Tübingen

Maartje Spetter is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology and the fMEG Centre at the University of Tübingen. She is interested in the neural circuits of taste, smell, and flavour preferences and its effect on food choice and therefore feeding behaviour

How to apply

The summer school is aimed at advanced undergraduate students and graduate students working in neurobiology, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and other relevant disciplines.

Board and lodging (in double rooms) will be provided. There are no participation fees to be paid, although traveling costs and beverages have to be covered by the participants.

For your application please visit our Homepage: