On Touch and Life in the De Anima

Written by: Christopher Long

Primary Source: Christopher P. Long Blog, December 15, 2015

Although Aristotle is often thought to give canonical voice to the priority of vision as the most noble of the human powers of perceiving, this article demonstrates that in Aristotle, touch has a priority vision lacks.

By tracing the things Aristotle says about touch in the De Anima and specifically the manner in which he identifies touch as a kind of mean condition, this essay argues that a deeper understanding of the nature of touch connects us humans more deeply to animal life and the natural world we inhabit.

This essay is part of a collection edited by Antonio Cimino and Pavlos Kontos and published by Brill Academic Publishers entitled Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Sight.

The publisher has agreed to allow me to post my chapter here in its post production form:

On Touch and Life in the De Anima

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Christopher P. Long is dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. His extensive publications in Ancient Greek and Contemporary Continental Philosophy include three books: The Ethics of Ontology: Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy (SUNY 2004), Aristotle On the Nature of Truth (Cambridge 2010), and an enhanced digital book entitled, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading (Cambridge 2014). The digital platform of the enhanced digital book enables readers to engage directly with the author in an online community. He is also co-founder of the Public Philosophy Journal, a project that has received over $780,000 of funding from the Mellon Foundation to create an innovative online space of digital scholarship and communication. To learn more about his administrative approach and his recent research in Philosophy, digital scholarly communication, and the educational use of social media technologies, visit his blog: www.cplong.org. He is the host of the Digital Dialogue podcast (thedigitaldialogue.com) and can be reached on Twitter @cplong and @deancplong.