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Feeling PleasuresThe Sense of Touch in Renaissance England$
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Joe Moshenska

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712947.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

‘A Sorrow, Soft and Agreeable’

‘A Sorrow, Soft and Agreeable’

Philosophies of Tickling

(p.175) 6 ‘A Sorrow, Soft and Agreeable’
Feeling Pleasures

Joe Moshenska

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the discussion of the problems presented by the experience of tickling in the pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata, including the mysterious facts that one cannot tickle oneself, and that only certain parts of the body are ticklish. Later discussions of tickling in the Renaissance are considered, including the writings of Erasmus, Richard Mulcaster, and Francis Bacon. The chapter considers Galileo and Descartes, both of whom explored experiences of tickling as part of their attempts to produce a transformed understanding of the basis of sensation. Descartes explores a moment of tickling on the threshold of conscious experience in order to displace the traditional reliability of touch, while Galileo observes that a statue cannot be tickled in order to argue that ticklishness is not a real quality that inheres in certain objects, such as feathers, but rather in the ticklish parts of the body.

Keywords:   tickling, Aristotle, laughter, Erasmus, flattery, Bacon, lust, Descartes, Galileo, tragedy

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