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On The Soul   

dilating of the veins or pores. That explains also why such animals

cannot smell under water; to smell they must first inhale, and that

they cannot do under water.

Smells come from what is dry as flavours from what is moist.

Consequently the organ of smell is potentially dry.


What can be tasted is always something that can be touched, and just

for that reason it cannot be perceived through an interposed foreign

body, for touch means the absence of any intervening body. Further,

the flavoured and tasteable body is suspended in a liquid matter,

and this is tangible. Hence, if we lived in water, we should

perceive a sweet object introduced into the water, but the water would

not be the medium through which we perceived; our perception would

be due to the solution of the sweet substance in what we imbibed, just

as if it were mixed with some drink. There is no parallel here to

the perception of colour, which is due neither to any blending of

anything with anything, nor to any efflux of anything from anything.

In the case of taste, there is nothing corresponding to the medium

in the case of the senses previously discussed; but as the object of

sight is colour, so the object of taste is flavour. But nothing

excites a perception of flavour without the help of liquid; what

acts upon the sense of taste must be either actually or potentially

liquid like what is saline; it must be both (a) itself easily

dissolved, and (b) capable of dissolving along with itself the tongue.

Taste apprehends both (a) what has taste and (b) what has no taste, if

we mean by (b) what has only a slight or feeble flavour or what

tends to destroy the sense of taste. In this it is exactly parallel to

sight, which apprehends both what is visible and what is invisible

(for darkness is invisible and yet is discriminated by sight; so is,

in a different way, what is over brilliant), and to hearing, which

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