Epigraph is from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, ‘‘Cézanne’s Doubt,’’ 15.
Here, and throughout this book, I engage Jacques Rancière’s thesis
that ‘‘politics is aesthetic in that it makes visible what had been excluded
from a perceptual ﬁeld, and that it makes audible what had been inaud-
ible.’’ Rancière, The Philosopher and His Poor, 226.
I will have more to say about the tasting subject and its role in the
history of political thought in chapter 5.
Organoleptic: (from organ + Greek l¯ eptikos meaning disposed to
take or accept, to seize). ‘‘Of, relating to, or involving the use of sense
organs or senses, especially of smell and taste.’’ Oxford English Dictionary
Online, s.v. ‘‘organoleptic.’’ The l¯ eptikos of organolepsis, I should specify,
also refers to how the external world impacts our sensory organs, how
these same sensory organs are formed by the impact of percepts, and to
the correspondences between a sense organ and acts of perception: we
know that our eyes grant us sight, and it would be unimaginable to
conceive of visuality as a form of touching. And yet, as I elaborate in
chapter 4, Aloïs Riegl’s studies on the aesthetic and historical value
of ancient monuments and sculptures determined the importance of
haptic visuality, of the eye’s caress, when approaching such artifacts. In
the case of Riegl and many other political theorists, cultural activists,
and artists discussed in these pages, the heterogeneity of perception
suggests a disarticulation of the correspondences that bind a sense organ
to an act of perception.