The Role of Absence and Presence of Senses in Sensory Studies around 1930

Jana Herwig

The proposed contribution to the network examines the lines of the discourse about blindness within cognitive psychology in the interwar period with special regard to how conceptions of tactile perception constructed assumptions about vision. Cues and perspectives are taken from an approach proposed by Mark Paterson, among others, who unfolds a historical and philosophical taxonomy of non-ocular perceptions by explicitly construing them as vision (Seeing with the Hands. Blindness, Vision, and Touch after Descartes, 2016). At the centre of the investigation stands Géza Révész’ Die Formenwelt des Tastsinnes (approximatively: The tactile world of forms; 1938, two volumes), with which he, at the time professor of psychology in Amsterdam, both attempted to “lay the foundation for haptics and for a psychology of the blind ”. The aim of the investigation is to sketch how notions of ocular and non-ocular perceptions contribute to their discursive co-construction.