The Inner Touch: Archaeology of a Sensation

Front Cover
Zone Books, 2007 - History - 386 pages

The Inner Touch presents the archaeology of a single sense: the sense of being sentient. Aristotle was perhaps the first to define this faculty when in his treatise On the Soul he identified a sensory power, irreducible to the five senses, by which animals perceive that they are perceiving: the simple "sense," as he wrote, "that we are seeing and hearing." After him, thinkers returned, time and again, to define and redefine this curious sensation. The classical Greek and Roman philosophers as well as the medieval Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin thinkers who followed them all investigated a power they called "the common sense," which one ancient author likened to "a kind of inner touch, by which we are able to grasp ourselves." Their many findings were not lost with the waning of the Middle Ages. From Montaigne and Francis Bacon to Locke, Leibniz, and Rousseau, from nineteenth-century psychiatry and neurology to Proust and Walter Benjamin, the writers and thinkers of the modern period have turned knowingly and unknowing to the terms of older traditions in exploring the perception that every sensitive being possesses of its life.The Inner Touch reconstructs and reconsiders the history of this perception. In twenty-five concise chapters that move freely among ancient, medieval, and modern cultures, Daniel Heller-Roazen investigates a set of exemplary phenomena that have played central roles in philosophical, literary, psychological, and medical accounts of the nature of animal existence. Here sensation and self-sensation, sleeping and waking, aesthetics and anesthetics, perception and apperception, animal nature and human nature, consciousness and unconsciousness, all acquire a new meaning.The Inner Touch proposes an original, elegant, and far-reaching philosophical inquiry into a problem that has never been more pressing: what it means to feel that one is alive.Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

MurrianaJ Preface to the Work in which Hegel
13
The Aesthetic Animal Of the ancient
21
The Primary Power Containing Aristotles
31
The Circle and the Point A Likeness of
43
Sentio Ergo Sum In which Aristotle and the ancient
57
Sleep Containing a Discussion of Aristotles Account
65
Awakening A short Chapter in which Proust Valery
73
Company The ancient Concept of Sunaisthesis
79
Psychology of the 449tH Night A short
151
The Fountain and the Source Another short
157
Perception Everywhere A long Chapter
163
Of the Merits of Missiles In which Leibniz
179
Thorns Another long Chapter Treating of Leibniz
193
To Myself or The Great Dane In which
211
Feeling the bodily Sense by which animate Beings dimly
237
Phantoms In which Bodiesfeel Parts they do
253

Historia Animalium Containing a Remark or
91
Appropriation A long Chapter containing
101
Elements of Ethics A Treatise by Hierocles
117
The Hound and the Hare Being the shortest
127
The Unnamed King In which Greek passes into
143
The Anaesthetic Animal Of modern Psychiatry
271
Untouchable An End to the Work containing what
291
Bibliography
349
Index
373
Copyright

Other editions - View all

About the author (2007)

Jennifer M. Groh, an assistant professor at theCenter for Cognitive Neuroscience and in theDepartment of Psychological and Brain Sciencesat Dartmouth College, studies how the brain computes.She is the author or co-author of numerousarticles, which have appeared in such journals as"Neuron," "Current Biology," and "The Journalof Neurophysiology."

Bibliographic information