Fri, 28 Oct 2011
It is familiarly said that beer … is an acquired taste; one gradually trains oneself — or just comes — to enjoy that flavor. What flavor? The flavor of the first sip? No one could like that flavor, an experienced beer drinker might retort: ‘Beer tastes different to the experienced beer drinker. If beer went on tasting to me the way the first sip tasted, I would never have gone on drinking beer! Or to put the same point the other way around, if my first sip of beer had tasted to me the way my most recent sip just tasted, I would never have had to acquire the taste in the first place! I would have loved the first sip as much as the one I just enjoyed.’ If we let this speech pass, we must admit that beer is not an acquired taste. No one comes to enjoy the way the first sip tasted. Instead, prolonged beer drinking leads people to experience a taste they enjoy, but precisely their enjoying the taste guarantees that it is not the taste they first experienced.
– Daniel Dennett, “Quining Qualia,” from Consciousness in Contemporary Science, 1988