AHRC Science in Culture Theme Leadership Fellow

Professor Barry C Smith

Professor Barry C. Smith is the Director of the Institute of Philosophy and co-director and founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses, which pioneers collaborative research between philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists.

He is a philosopher of language and mind who has published on self-knowledge, linguistic knowledge, consciousness, the emotions, taste and smell. 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.

He is the editor of 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, Nightwaves, and Start the Week. 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. He has held visiting professorships at the University of California at Berkeley and the Ecole Normale Superiéure in Paris.

Barry was appointed as the AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Science in Culture Theme in November 2012.


Spence, Charles, Michel, Charles and Smith, Barry, ‘Airplane Noise and the taste of Umami’, Flavour, 3:2, 2014

Smith, Barry, ‘The Nature of Sensory Experience: The Case of Taste and Tasting’ in Senses and Sensibility: Empirical Investigations of the Five Senses, Phenomenology and Mind; 4, July 2013

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

Further information is available in the School of Advanced Study Directory of Experts.


Quoted in BBC Technology, ‘Sniffing out the next big thing in chocolate and gobstoppers’, 15th June 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32998220

Quoted in New Scientist ‘Au revoir, terroir? The Science of what makes great wines tick.’, 10th May 2015 http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630200.500-au-revoir-terroir-the-science-of-what-makes-great-wines-tick.html.

Quoted in The Drinks Business ‘Terroir: Microbes not soil?’ , 8th May 2015 http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/05/terroir-microbes-not-soil/

BBC Radio 4, ‘Barry Smith on Descartes and Consciousness’, A History of Ideas, 17 April 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05qk1n3

BBC 1, Guest ‘Supertaster’, Masterchef, 15th April 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05rhvgc

BBC Radio 4, ‘What does it mean to be me?’, A History of Ideas, 13 April 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05qfkjm

BBC News, ‘What would Wittgenstein say about that dress?’, BBC News Monitor, 28 February 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-31662317

BBC Radio 4, ‘Barry Smith on Noam Chomsky and Human Language’, A History of Ideas,  22 January 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ykk50

BBC Radio 4, ‘What Makes Us Human?’, A History of Ideas, 19 January 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04yb2x4

BBC Radio 3, ‘Looking at Art: Fred Wiseman’ Free Thinking, 14 January 2015  http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b04xrzd5

Quoted in ‘School of Advanced Study reaffirms commitment to digital research’, Times Higher Education, 8 January 2015, http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/school-of-advanced-study-reaffirms-commitment-to-digital-research/2017758.article

Quoted in ‘Healthily informed? Or fit for nothing? Our three experts put you to the test…with the 2014 quiz.’, Mail on Sunday, 27 December 2014

Quoted in ‘The truth about alcohol, from gin tears to champagne hangovers’, The Guardian, 23 December 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/dec/23/truth-about-alcohol-gin-tears-champagne-hangovers

Interview in ‘Wine: Makes perfect sense’, The New Zealand Herald, 13 November 2014 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/viva-magazine/news/article.cfm?c_id=533&objectid=11357123

BBC Radio 4, ‘On the Philosophy of Good Taste’, A History of Ideas 18 November 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04p845z

BBC Radio 4, Why are things beautiful?, A History of Ideas, 17 November 2014  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04p7xlx

BBC Radio 4, Word of Mouth, July 29, 2014

BBC Radio 5 Live, Interviewed for Richard Bacon’s podcast at Cheltenham Festival, June 2014

BBC Radio 5 Live, Interview on how the shape of chocolate bars changes the taste, 25 September 2013

Interviewed for article ‘Who, what, why: Does the shape of chocolate change its taste’, BBC News Magazine, 25 September 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24223182

BBC Radio 4, Interview on Your and Yours on Champagne and expertise, Dec 2013

Interview with Denise Winterman, BBC News Magazine ‘Taste and Smell: What is it like to live without them?’, 29 June 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23051270