Touch

In Mohan Matthen (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception. Oxford University Press (2013)

Authors
Frédérique de Vignemont
Institut Jean Nicod
Olivier Massin
Université de Neuchâtel
Abstract
Since Aristotle, touch has been found especially hard to define. One of the few unchallenged intuition about touch, however, is that tactile awareness entertains some especially close relationship with bodily awareness. This article considers the relation between touch and bodily awareness from two different perspectives: the body template theory and the body map theory. According to the former, touch is defined by the fact that tactile content matches proprioceptive content. We raise some objections against such a bodily definition of touch and suggest, as an alternative, to revive the proposal according to which touch is essentially a sense of pressure. According to the body map theory, tactile sensations are localized within the frame of reference provided by the mental representation of the space of the body. We argue that this approach of the location of bodily sensations fares better that the Local Sign theory that denies intrinsic spatiality to touch
Keywords touch  pressure  body  bodily awareness  tactile perception
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