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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the question of whether and how the relationship between touch, the body, and bodily activity might be distinctive. I begin by raising a problem for any claim concerning the nature of “touch”: it is unclear what touch is, and all generalizations concerning touch are susceptible to counterexamples. Following this, I consider a recent formulation of the view that tactual perception sometimes utilizes bodily exploration in a distinctive way, and show why that view is problematic. I go on to address various formulations of the claim that touch is somehow more fundamental than the other senses, insofar as it is more intimately bound up with our bodily nature. All of these turn out to be unclear or implausible. I conclude that the most plausible case for the primacy of touch involves an appeal to its diversity, rather than to any particular characteristic of touch.

Keywords: activity, bodily experience, the body, exploration, movement, perception, the senses, sensorimotor contingency, tactual perception, touch, vision

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