The transcendental priority of touch: Friendship as a foundation for a philosophy of touch

Stephen Richard Palmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As the boundary between the body and the external world, skin has a transcendental status not possessed by other organs. Considered in this way, touch is the most fundamental sense: sight, hearing, smell, and taste can all be regarded as forms of touch. Increasing sensitivity to touching leads modern societies to intensify sexual harassment laws. Anti-touch legislation is nothing new, as a review of relevant biblical texts demonstrates. Surprisingly, the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus can serve as a model for modifying touching taboos: when employed responsibly, touch promotes moral/spiritual renewal. Correlating the five senses with five types of love, friendship love corresponds to the central role of touch. Touching becomes an ethical and/or legal concern only when it occurs outside the bounds of friendship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-118
JournalAretè: International Journal of Philosophy, Human & Social Sciences
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

User-Defined Keywords

  • touch
  • boundary-conditions
  • sexual harassment
  • love
  • friendship

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