Tickling is a minor, even ridiculous phenomenon. In this talk the philosopher and writer Aaron Schuster will explore its profound philosophical and aesthetic significance. We shall sketch a history of tickling starting with Aristotle (man as the uniquely ticklish animal), to debates on pleasure in early modern philosophy (Descartes’s concept of chatouillement, Spinoza on titillatio), through the writings of Nietzsche, Freud and Lacan. Special attention will be given to Paul Margueritte’s fin de siècle pantomime “Pierrot Murderer of His Wife,” a curious case of death by tickling, and Derrida’s extensive commentary on it in “The Double Session.” Tickling is bound up with play, imitation, theatre, and the origins of comedy, and one of the main aims of the research will be to show how a kind of super-sensitivity on the physical level is doubled by a ‘touchiness’ or ‘ticklishness’ on the metaphysical level.
The event is held in English on Friday, October 4, 6:30 pm at the CAC Café. Admission is free.
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