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



Previous | Next
                  

On The Soul   


We have now given an outline account of each of the several senses.



12



The following results applying to any and every sense may now be

formulated.

(A) By a 'sense' is meant what has the power of receiving into

itself the sensible forms of things without the matter. This must be

conceived of as taking place in the way in which a piece of wax

takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold; we say

that what produces the impression is a signet of bronze or gold, but

its particular metallic constitution makes no difference: in a similar

way the sense is affected by what is coloured or flavoured or

sounding, but it is indifferent what in each case the substance is;

what alone matters is what quality it has, i.e. in what ratio its

constituents are combined.

(B) By 'an organ of sense' is meant that in which ultimately such

a power is seated.

The sense and its organ are the same in fact, but their essence is

not the same. What perceives is, of course, a spatial magnitude, but

we must not admit that either the having the power to perceive or

the sense itself is a magnitude; what they are is a certain ratio or

power in a magnitude. This enables us to explain why objects of

sense which possess one of two opposite sensible qualities in a degree

largely in excess of the other opposite destroy the organs of sense;

if the movement set up by an object is too strong for the organ, the

equipoise of contrary qualities in the organ, which just is its

sensory power, is disturbed; it is precisely as concord and tone are

destroyed by too violently twanging the strings of a lyre. This

explains also why plants cannot perceive. in spite of their having a

portion of soul in them and obviously being affected by tangible

objects themselves; for undoubtedly their temperature can be lowered

Previous | Next
Site Search