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

Stephen R. Palmquist

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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    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
    Number of pages15
    JournalAretè: International Journal of Philosophy, Human & Social Sciences
    Volume1
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016

    User-Defined Keywords

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

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