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More than Meets the EyeWhat Blindness Brings to Art$
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Georgina Kleege

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190604356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190604356.001.0001

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The Tenacious Life of the Hypothetical Blind Man

The Tenacious Life of the Hypothetical Blind Man

Chapter:
(p.14) 1 The Tenacious Life of the Hypothetical Blind Man
Source:
More than Meets the Eye
Author(s):

Georgina Kleege

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190604356.003.0002

The chapter provides a survey of the history of the figure of the “man born blind” or what the author calls the hypothetical blind man in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Diderot. These representations rely on an over-determined, one-to-one analogy between the eyes of the sighted man and the hands of the blind man. If the sighted theorists are assumed to be “all eyes,” the hypothetical blind man is “all hands.” The chapter goes on to put representations in conversation with biographical and autobiographical accounts of actual blind people from the eighteenth century until the present, with particular attention to their treatment of their own conceptualization of visual phenomena, imagination, and dreams.

Keywords:   blindness, Enlightenment philosophy, Rene Descartes, Denis Diderot, William Molyneux, John Locke, Adele Husson, Helen Keller, Martin Milligan

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