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The tactual ground, immersion and "the space between".

Mac Cumhaill, C. (2017) 'The tactual ground, immersion and "the space between".', Southern journal of philosophy., 55 (1). pp. 5-31.


I ask whether figure-ground structure can be realized in touch, and, if so, how. Drawing on the taxonomy of touch sketched in Katz's 1925 The World of Touch, I argue that the form of touch that is relevant to such consideration is a species of immersed touch. I consider whether we can feel the space we are immersed in and, more specifically, the empty space against which the surfaces of objects, as I shall urge, “stand out.” Harnessing M. G. F. Martin's account of bodily awareness and touch, I defend a positive thesis, pace Graham Nerlich on whose The Shape of Space (1994) I otherwise rely, both to defend the supposition that empty space can in principle be felt and to argue that touching empty space is not a mere species of absence perception. Along the way, I defuse a causal worry that might be thought to arise in the case of touching empty space.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Mac Cumhaill, C. (2017), The Tactual Ground, Immersion, and the “Space Between”. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 55(1): 5-31, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:22 March 2017
Date deposited:12 May 2017
Date of first online publication:18 April 2017
Date first made open access:18 October 2018

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