Seeing with the Hands: Blindness, Vision and Touch After Descartes
A literary, historical and philosophical discussion of attitudes to blindness by the sighted, and what the blind 'see'Why has there been a persistent fascination by the sighted, including philosophers, poets and the public, in what the blind 'see'? Is the experience of being blind, as Descartes declared, like 'seeing with the hands'? What happens on the rare occasions when surgery allows previously blind people to see for the very first time? And how did evidence from early experimental surgery inform those philosophical debates about vision and touch? These questions and others were prompted by a question that the Irish scientist, Molyneux, asked an English philosopher, Locke, in 1688, but which was to have implications for British empiricism, French sensationism, and the beginnings of psychology that outlasted the long tail of the Enlightenment. Through an unfolding historical and philosophical narrative the book follows up responses to this question in Britain and France, and considers it as an early articulation of sensory substitution, the substitution of one sense (touch) for another (vision). This concept has influenced attitudes towards blindness, and technologies for the blind and vision impaired, to this day.Key FeaturesUnfolds the history of 'blindness' from 17th century that shades into the beginnings of psychologyQuestions the assumed centrality of vision and the eye in Enlightenment philosophy and scienceTraces the core idea of 'sensory substitution' from hypothetical speculations in the 17th century to present day technologies for the blind and vision impaired
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
abstract analogy answer articulated aveugles Bach-y-Rita become Berkeley Berkeley’s blind figure blind subject body Borges born blind Bradford Braille brain BrainPort Buffon cataract operation chapter Cheselden’s patient colour Condillac considered correlation cube darkness deaf Descartes Diderot Diderot’s Lettre Dioptrique distance empathy empiricism epistemological Essay example experiences of blindness explains eyes functional Gregory and Wallace hands haptic HaŁy HaŁy’s hypothetical blind ideas imagination initially inquiry involved Kleege knowledge later learning Leibniz light Locke Locke’s mechanisms mind Molyneux problem Molyneux question neuroplasticity newly sighted Nicholas Saunderson non-visual objects optical perceived Peripatetic axiom perspective philosophical plasticity psychology Puiseaux reading recognise retina Riskin role Saunderson sensations sense modality sensory modalities sensory substitution sighted reader sighted subjects spatial perception surgery tactile language tactile signs tactile writing technologies thought experiment translation tropes TVSS Valentin HaŁy vision and touch visual cortex visual perception Voltaire Voltaire’s words