Chapter 1 seeing with the hands descartes blindness and vision pp 21 32 the centrality of the eye in particular and the visual in general is termed ocularcentrism by the intellectual historian martin jay in his monumental survey of french philosophical approaches to vision downcast eyes 1994. Seeing with the hands blindness vision and touch after descartes mark paterson published by edinburgh university press unfolds the history of blindness from 17th century that shades into the beginnings of psychology questions the assumed centrality of vision and the eye in enlightenment philosophy and science. The man born blind restored to light was one of the foundational myths of the enlightenment according to foucault with ophthalmic surgery in its infancy the fascination by the sighted with blindness and what the blind might see after sight restoration remained largely speculative was being blind as descartes once remarked like seeing with the hands. Get this from a library seeing with the hands blindness vision and touch after descartes mark paterson through an unfolding historical philosophical and literary narrative that includes locke molyneux and berkeley in britain and diderot voltaire and buffon in france this book explores how the . The first engagement with blindness in modern philosophy descartes famous work on optics 1637is introduced here in his observation of a hypothetical blind man walking with a stick descartes makes the analogy between hands and eyes such that the blind are conceived as seeing with their hands descartes initial analogy therefore neatly solidifies an influential
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