Noli tangere: On the limits of seeing and touching in Hegel’s philosophy of art

Paul A. Kottman


Hegel’s exclusion of touch (and taste and smell) from the purview of fine art, which limits itself to the “theoretical senses” of sight and hearing, does not mean that touch is not theoretical. Rather, for Hegel, the theoretical significance of touch cannot be grasped artistically; indeed, that is a lesson which art, exclusively, teaches. For this reason, Hegel's philosophy of art offers unique resources for a critique of our contemporary visual culture and its obliviousness to the moral and theoretical implications of how human beings are touched, or touch one another.


Visual culture;Pornography;Touch;Sight

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ISSN 0585-4733

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