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On The Soul   

which is not an animal can have this sense, so on the other it is

the only one which is indispensably necessary to what is an animal.

This explains, further, the following difference between the other

senses and touch. In the case of all the others excess of intensity in

the qualities which they apprehend, i.e. excess of intensity in

colour, sound, and smell, destroys not the but only the organs of

the sense (except incidentally, as when the sound is accompanied by an

impact or shock, or where through the objects of sight or of smell

certain other things are set in motion, which destroy by contact);

flavour also destroys only in so far as it is at the same time

tangible. But excess of intensity in tangible qualities, e.g. heat,

cold, or hardness, destroys the animal itself. As in the case of every

sensible quality excess destroys the organ, so here what is tangible

destroys touch, which is the essential mark of life; for it has been

shown that without touch it is impossible for an animal to be. That is

why excess in intensity of tangible qualities destroys not merely

the organ, but the animal itself, because this is the only sense which

it must have.

All the other senses are necessary to animals, as we have said,

not for their being, but for their well-being. Such, e.g. is sight,

which, since it lives in air or water, or generally in what is

pellucid, it must have in order to see, and taste because of what is

pleasant or painful to it, in order that it may perceive these

qualities in its nutriment and so may desire to be set in motion,

and hearing that it may have communication made to it, and a tongue

that it may communicate with its fellows.


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