Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On The Soul

Previous | Next

On The Soul   

stage which corresponds to the possession of knowledge. Actual

sensation corresponds to the stage of the exercise of knowledge. But

between the two cases compared there is a difference; the objects that

excite the sensory powers to activity, the seen, the heard, &c., are

outside. The ground of this difference is that what actual sensation

apprehends is individuals, while what knowledge apprehends is

universals, and these are in a sense within the soul. That is why a

man can exercise his knowledge when he wishes, but his sensation

does not depend upon himself a sensible object must be there. A

similar statement must be made about our knowledge of what is

sensible-on the same ground, viz. that the sensible objects are

individual and external.

A later more appropriate occasion may be found thoroughly to clear

up all this. At present it must be enough to recognize the

distinctions already drawn; a thing may be said to be potential in

either of two senses, (a) in the sense in which we might say of a

boy that he may become a general or (b) in the sense in which we might

say the same of an adult, and there are two corresponding senses of

the term 'a potential sentient'. There are no separate names for the

two stages of potentiality; we have pointed out that they are

different and how they are different. We cannot help using the

incorrect terms 'being acted upon or altered' of the two transitions

involved. As we have said, has the power of sensation is potentially

like what the perceived object is actually; that is, while at the

beginning of the process of its being acted upon the two interacting

factors are dissimilar, at the end the one acted upon is assimilated

to the other and is identical in quality with it.


In dealing with each of the senses we shall have first to speak of

the objects which are perceptible by each. The term 'object of

Previous | Next
Site Search