On Sense And The Sensible
respect of savour [whether developed or undeveloped], but some
agent, such for example as one might conceive Heat or the Sun to be,
is the efficient cause of savour.
(a) Of these three hypotheses, the falsity of that held by
Empedocles is only too evident. For we see that when pericarpal fruits
are plucked [from the tree] and exposed in the sun, or subjected to
the action of fire, their sapid juices are changed by the heat,
which shows that their qualities are not due to their drawing anything
from the water in the ground, but to a change which they undergo
within the pericarp itself; and we see, moreover, that these juices,
when extracted and allowed to lie, instead of sweet become by lapse of
time harsh or bitter, or acquire savours of any and every sort; and
that, again, by the process of boiling or fermentation they are made
to assume almost all kinds of new savours.
(b) It is likewise impossible that water should be a material
qualified to generate all kinds of Savour germs [so that different
savours should arise out of different parts of the water]; for we
see different kinds of taste generated from the same water, having
it as their nutriment.
(C) It remains, therefore, to suppose that the water is changed by
passively receiving some affection from an external agent. Now, it
is manifest that water does not contract the quality of sapidity
from the agency of Heat alone. For water is of all liquids the
thinnest, thinner even than oil itself, though oil, owing to its
viscosity, is more ductile than water, the latter being uncohesive
in its particles; whence water is more difficult than oil to hold in
the hand without spilling. But since perfectly pure water does not,
when subjected to the action of Heat, show any tendency to acquire
consistency, we must infer that some other agency than heat is the
cause of sapidity. For all savours [i.e. sapid liquors] exhibit a
comparative consistency. Heat is, however, a coagent in the matter.
Now the sapid juices found in pericarpal fruits evidently exist also