Edmund de Waal speaks of haptic knowledge, ‘the ways in which it is possible to know something complex without having the need, or the means, to articulate it in language’.   We can sometimes perform without knowing how the thing works, and a friend of mine describes himself as a ‘haptic maker’.

In the dictionary I find: ‘relating to the sense of touch, in particular relating to the perception or manipulation of objects using touch and proprioception’.   The common ground between the two definitions perhaps lying in the Greek root, haptikos, ‘able to touch or grasp’.

Sources: Edmund de Waal, The White Road (London: Chatto & Windus, 2015), p. 138, and Oxford English Dictionary

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