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On The Soul   

air acting and being acted upon, so long as it maintains an unbroken

unity. That is why in the case of reflection it is better, instead

of saying that the sight issues from the eye and is reflected, to

say that the air, so long as it remains one, is affected by the

shape and colour. On a smooth surface the air possesses unity; hence

it is that it in turn sets the sight in motion, just as if the

impression on the wax were transmitted as far as the wax extends.


It is clear that the body of an animal cannot be simple, i.e.

consist of one element such as fire or air. For without touch it is

impossible to have any other sense; for every body that has soul in it

must, as we have said, be capable of touch. All the other elements

with the exception of earth can constitute organs of sense, but all of

them bring about perception only through something else, viz.

through the media. Touch takes place by direct contact with its

objects, whence also its name. All the other organs of sense, no

doubt, perceive by contact, only the contact is mediate: touch alone

perceives by immediate contact. Consequently no animal body can

consist of these other elements.

Nor can it consist solely of earth. For touch is as it were a mean

between all tangible qualities, and its organ is capable of

receiving not only all the specific qualities which characterize

earth, but also the hot and the cold and all other tangible

qualities whatsoever. That is why we have no sensation by means of

bones, hair, &c., because they consist of earth. So too plants,

because they consist of earth, have no sensation. Without touch

there can be no other sense, and the organ of touch cannot consist

of earth or of any other single element.

It is evident, therefore, that the loss of this one sense alone must

bring about the death of an animal. For as on the one hand nothing

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