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On The Soul   

or raised. The explanation is that they have no mean of contrary

qualities, and so no principle in them capable of taking on the

forms of sensible objects without their matter; in the case of

plants the affection is an affection by form-and-matter together.

The problem might be raised: Can what cannot smell be said to be

affected by smells or what cannot see by colours, and so on? It

might be said that a smell is just what can be smelt, and if it

produces any effect it can only be so as to make something smell it,

and it might be argued that what cannot smell cannot be affected by

smells and further that what can smell can be affected by it only in

so far as it has in it the power to smell (similarly with the proper

objects of all the other senses). Indeed that this is so is made quite

evident as follows. Light or darkness, sounds and smells leave

bodies quite unaffected; what does affect bodies is not these but

the bodies which are their vehicles, e.g. what splits the trunk of a

tree is not the sound of the thunder but the air which accompanies

thunder. Yes, but, it may be objected, bodies are affected by what

is tangible and by flavours. If not, by what are things that are

without soul affected, i.e. altered in quality? Must we not, then,

admit that the objects of the other senses also may affect them? Is

not the true account this, that all bodies are capable of being

affected by smells and sounds, but that some on being acted upon,

having no boundaries of their own, disintegrate, as in the instance of

air, which does become odorous, showing that some effect is produced

on it by what is odorous? But smelling is more than such an

affection by what is odorous-what more? Is not the answer that,

while the air owing to the momentary duration of the action upon it of

what is odorous does itself become perceptible to the sense of

smell, smelling is an observing of the result produced?

Book III


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