Department of Religion and Philosophy
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.
touch, boundary-conditions, sexual harassment, love, friendship
Source Publication Title
Aretè = International Journal of Philosophy, Human & Social Sciences
Palmquist, Stephen Richard. "The transcendental priority of touch: Friendship as a foundation for a philosophy of touch." Aretè = International Journal of Philosophy, Human & Social Sciences 1 (2016): 104-118.