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On The Soul   

sense' covers three kinds of objects, two kinds of which are, in our

language, directly perceptible, while the remaining one is only

incidentally perceptible. Of the first two kinds one (a) consists of

what is perceptible by a single sense, the other (b) of what is

perceptible by any and all of the senses. I call by the name of

special object of this or that sense that which cannot be perceived by

any other sense than that one and in respect of which no error is

possible; in this sense colour is the special object of sight, sound

of hearing, flavour of taste. Touch, indeed, discriminates more than

one set of different qualities. Each sense has one kind of object

which it discerns, and never errs in reporting that what is before

it is colour or sound (though it may err as to what it is that is

coloured or where that is, or what it is that is sounding or where

that is.) Such objects are what we propose to call the special objects

of this or that sense.

'Common sensibles' are movement, rest, number, figure, magnitude;

these are not peculiar to any one sense, but are common to all.

There are at any rate certain kinds of movement which are

perceptible both by touch and by sight.

We speak of an incidental object of sense where e.g. the white

object which we see is the son of Diares; here because 'being the

son of Diares' is incidental to the directly visible white patch we

speak of the son of Diares as being (incidentally) perceived or seen

by us. Because this is only incidentally an object of sense, it in

no way as such affects the senses. Of the two former kinds, both of

which are in their own nature perceptible by sense, the first

kind-that of special objects of the several senses-constitute the

objects of sense in the strictest sense of the term and it is to

them that in the nature of things the structure of each several

sense is adapted.


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