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On Sense And The Sensible   

many in number on account of the fact that the ingredients may be

combined with one another in a multitude of ratios; some will be based

on determinate numerical ratios, while others again will have as their

basis a relation of quantitative excess or defect not expressible in

integers. And all else that was said in reference to the colours,

considered as juxtaposed or superposed, may be said of them likewise

when regarded as mixed in the way just described.

Why colours, as well as savours and sounds, consist of species

determinate [in themselves] and not infinite [in number] is a question

which we shall discuss hereafter.


We have now explained what colour is, and the reason why there are

many colours; while before, in our work On the Soul, we explained

the nature of sound and voice. We have next to speak of Odour and

Savour, both of which are almost the same physical affection, although

they each have their being in different things. Savours, as a class,

display their nature more clearly to us than Odours, the cause of

which is that the olfactory sense of man is inferior in acuteness to

that of the lower animals, and is, when compared with our other

senses, the least perfect of Man's sense of Touch, on the contrary,

excels that of all other animals in fineness, and Taste is a

modification of Touch.

Now the natural substance water per se tends to be tasteless. But

[since without water tasting is impossible] either (a) we must suppose

that water contains in itself [uniformly diffused through it] the

various kinds of savour, already formed, though in amounts so small as

to be imperceptible, which is the doctrine of Empedocles; or (b) the

water must be a sort of matter, qualified, as it were, to produce

germs of savours of all kinds, so that all kinds of savour are

generated from the water, though different kinds from its different

parts, or else (c) the water is in itself quite undifferentiated in

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