Classical philosophies on blindness and cross-modal transfer, 1688–2003

Authored by: Simon Hayhoe

The Routledge Handbook of Visual Impairment

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138085411
eBook ISBN: 9781315111353
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315111353-15

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the question: Has the methodology of cross-modal transfer affected our theory of cognition and blindness to the detriment of the majority of people with visual impairments? In order to address this question, philosophical and psychological literature in the date range 1688–2008 is surveyed, and methodologies are analysed using an epistemological model of blindness. It is concluded that methodologies used in the study of cross-modal transfer rarely developed a useful epistemology of blindness or promoted the social inclusion of people with visual impairments. Instead, studies often conflated moral philosophy, intellect and perception for political and religious motives. Two possible solutions to these problems are suggested: first, methodology in the study of philosophy and psychology needs to accommodate a spectrum of variables affecting visual impairment; second, philosophers and psychologists need to do more to promote the inclusion and understanding of blindness itself, rather than trying to make broad points about the mind and deficit.

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