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

Previous | Next

On The Soul   

that, if there is no fifth element and no property other than those

which belong to the four elements of our world, no sense can be

wanting to such animals.

Further, there cannot be a special sense-organ for the common

sensibles either, i.e. the objects which we perceive incidentally

through this or that special sense, e.g. movement, rest, figure,

magnitude, number, unity; for all these we perceive by movement,

e.g. magnitude by movement, and therefore also figure (for figure is a

species of magnitude), what is at rest by the absence of movement:

number is perceived by the negation of continuity, and by the

special sensibles; for each sense perceives one class of sensible

objects. So that it is clearly impossible that there should be a

special sense for any one of the common sensibles, e.g. movement; for,

if that were so, our perception of it would be exactly parallel to our

present perception of what is sweet by vision. That is so because we

have a sense for each of the two qualities, in virtue of which when

they happen to meet in one sensible object we are aware of both

contemporaneously. If it were not like this our perception of the

common qualities would always be incidental, i.e. as is the perception

of Cleon's son, where we perceive him not as Cleon's son but as white,

and the white thing which we really perceive happens to be Cleon's


But in the case of the common sensibles there is already in us a

general sensibility which enables us to perceive them directly;

there is therefore no special sense required for their perception:

if there were, our perception of them would have been exactly like

what has been above described.

The senses perceive each other's special objects incidentally; not

because the percipient sense is this or that special sense, but

because all form a unity: this incidental perception takes place

whenever sense is directed at one and the same moment to two disparate

qualities in one and the same object, e.g. to the bitterness and the

Previous | Next
Site Search