Peter of Limoges, optics, and the science of the senses

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Abstract

Peter of Limoges's Moral Treatise on the Eye, composed in the environment of the university in Paris in 1275/6-89, is a work that recuperates, and seeks to control, sensory perception for ethical goals. The treatise moves from the scientific observations of Perspectivist optics that Peter acquired from Roger Bacon and Alhacen (Ibn al-Haytham) to the moral interpretations of these facets of optics. By focusing on the science of sensation, the treatise helped make thinking about the senses themselves part of the common cultural work of the pulpit. Peter foregrounds vision, but he understands the importance of multisensory experience as well, in particular in conceptions of the pleasure and danger in sensory perception itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-44
Number of pages17
JournalSenses and Society
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

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Keywords

  • Curiosity
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Multisensory
  • Optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication

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