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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.12 n.2 Grahamstown Jul. 2012 

Shy and ticklish truths as species of scientific and artistic perception



Nigel Rapport




To evidence the human condition must be to provide an account of the manifold modalities of experience: 'Evidence' must include different kinds of humanly experienced truths. However, the question is how does one extend the way in which the 'evidential' is broadly understood so that it encompasses the range of ways and kinds of knowing as practised in people's everyday lives and as pertaining to those lives. Borrowing phrasing from Nietzsche, this article focuses in particular on species of human truth that might be described as being 'shyer' or more 'ticklish' than others, and that are only humanly accessible when 'taken by surprise', or 'glanced at, flashed at'. Part I of the article explores the sense that might be made of the notion of 'ticklish truths'. Part II then considers the wider implications of giving due to a panoply of modes of human knowing. The aim of the article is to recognize a 'gay science' (Nietzsche) not as an eccentric construction of merely poetic insights and expressions, but as a necessary part of the fundamentals of knowledge. It is a truth of the human condition that its truths are grounded in a personal embodiment of individuality, ontogeny, momentariness and situationality.



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About the Author



Nigel Rapport (MA (Cambridge), PhD (Manchester), FRSE) is Professor of Anthropological and Philosophical Studies at the University of St. Andrews, where he directs the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies. He has also held the Canada Research Chair in Globalization, Citizenship and Justice at Concordia University of Montreal. His recent publications include 'I am Dynamite': An Alternative Anthropology of Power (Routledge 2003); Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts [2nd edition] (Routledge 2007); Of Orderlies and Men: Hospital Porters Achieving Wellness at Work (Carolina Academic Press 2008); and, as Editor, Human Nature as Capacity: Transcending Discourse and Classification (Berghahn 2010). E-mail address:

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