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