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On The Soul   


apprehends both sound and silence, of which the one is audible and the

other inaudible, and also over-loud sound. This corresponds in the

case of hearing to over-bright light in the case of sight. As a

faint sound is 'inaudible', so in a sense is a loud or violent

sound. The word 'invisible' and similar privative terms cover not only

(a) what is simply without some power, but also (b) what is adapted by

nature to have it but has not it or has it only in a very low

degree, as when we say that a species of swallow is 'footless' or that

a variety of fruit is 'stoneless'. So too taste has as its object both

what can be tasted and the tasteless-the latter in the sense of what

has little flavour or a bad flavour or one destructive of taste. The

difference between what is tasteless and what is not seems to rest

ultimately on that between what is drinkable and what is undrinkable

both are tasteable, but the latter is bad and tends to destroy

taste, while the former is the normal stimulus of taste. What is

drinkable is the common object of both touch and taste.

Since what can be tasted is liquid, the organ for its perception

cannot be either (a) actually liquid or (b) incapable of becoming

liquid. Tasting means a being affected by what can be tasted as

such; hence the organ of taste must be liquefied, and so to start with

must be non-liquid but capable of liquefaction without loss of its

distinctive nature. This is confirmed by the fact that the tongue

cannot taste either when it is too dry or when it is too moist; in the

latter case what occurs is due to a contact with the pre-existent

moisture in the tongue itself, when after a foretaste of some strong

flavour we try to taste another flavour; it is in this way that sick

persons find everything they taste bitter, viz. because, when they

taste, their tongues are overflowing with bitter moisture.

The species of flavour are, as in the case of colour, (a) simple,

i.e. the two contraries, the sweet and the bitter, (b) secondary, viz.

(i) on the side of the sweet, the succulent, (ii) on the side of the

bitter, the saline, (iii) between these come the pungent, the harsh,

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