The Sense of Touch: From Tactility to Tactual Probing

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):688-701 (2017)
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Because philosophical reflections on touch usually start from our ability to perceive properties of objects, they tend to overlook features of touch that are crucial to correct understanding of tactual perception. This paper brings out these features and uses them to develop a general reconception of the sense of touch. I start by taking a fresh look at our ability to feel, in order to reveal its vital role. This sheds a different light on the skin's perceptual potential. While it is commonly observed that tactile experiences have two intentional objects, an external object and one's own body, I will advance a more accurate alternative: in tactile experiences, one becomes aware of what one's body undergoes. This alternative not only fits better with tactility's vital role; it is also key to explaining how active touching provides for a unique contribution to our perceptual relation to material objects. By thus connecting tactility's vital role to the way we rely on touch while manipulating objects, this essay offers a cross-sectional survey of our tactile powers that reveals the interplay between sensing and touching.



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Citations of this work

Is there a tactile field?Błażej Skrzypulec - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):301-326.
Feeling Fit For Function: Haptic Touch and Aesthetic Experience.Tom Roberts - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (1):49-61.
Spatial content of painful sensations.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (4):554-569.
Blur and interoceptive vision.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3271-3289.
Feeling nothing: Numbness and emotional absence.Tom Roberts - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):187-198.

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References found in this work

Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomenological philosophy.Edmund Husserl - 1980 - Hingham, MA, USA: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view.Immanuel Kant - 2006 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Robert B. Louden.
The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2002 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
An Inquiry Into the Human Mind, on the Principles of Common Sense.Thomas Reid - 1997 - Cambridge University Press. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
The Problem of Perception.A. D. Smith - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217):640-642.

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