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Touching ‘To Be Sure’ of Reality

What might seem almost superstitious at first could however have deeper reasons. The assurance that touch gives us makes it rather special in our epistemic life. René Descartes came close to this diagnosis when he noted that the evidence we got from touch was somewhat harder to discard: ‘Of all our senses,’ he wrote in The World (1633), ‘touch is the one considered least deceptive and the most secure.’ We have perhaps to remember the biblical story of doubting Thomas to understand the privilege of touch: Thomas had to touch Christ’s wounds to be convinced the person in front of him was Jesus.

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