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On The Soul   


which sees is coloured; for in each case the sense-organ is capable of

receiving the sensible object without its matter. That is why even

when the sensible objects are gone the sensings and imaginings

continue to exist in the sense-organs.

The activity of the sensible object and that of the percipient sense

is one and the same activity, and yet the distinction between their

being remains. Take as illustration actual sound and actual hearing: a

man may have hearing and yet not be hearing, and that which has a

sound is not always sounding. But when that which can hear is actively

hearing and which can sound is sounding, then the actual hearing and

the actual sound are merged in one (these one might call

respectively hearkening and sounding).

If it is true that the movement, both the acting and the being acted

upon, is to be found in that which is acted upon, both the sound and

the hearing so far as it is actual must be found in that which has the

faculty of hearing; for it is in the passive factor that the actuality

of the active or motive factor is realized; that is why that which

causes movement may be at rest. Now the actuality of that which can

sound is just sound or sounding, and the actuality of that which can

hear is hearing or hearkening; 'sound' and 'hearing' are both

ambiguous. The same account applies to the other senses and their

objects. For as the-acting-and-being-acted-upon is to be found in

the passive, not in the active factor, so also the actuality of the

sensible object and that of the sensitive subject are both realized in

the latter. But while in some cases each aspect of the total actuality

has a distinct name, e.g. sounding and hearkening, in some one or

other is nameless, e.g. the actuality of sight is called seeing, but

the actuality of colour has no name: the actuality of the faculty of

taste is called tasting, but the actuality of flavour has no name.

Since the actualities of the sensible object and of the sensitive

faculty are one actuality in spite of the difference between their

modes of being, actual hearing and actual sounding appear and

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