On Sense And The Sensible
which give pleasure in their combination are those which have their
components joined in a definite ratio.
The sweet taste alone is Rich, [therefore the latter may be regarded
as a variety of the former], while [so far as both imply privation
of the Sweet] the Saline is fairly identical with the Bitter.
Between the extremes of sweet and bitter come the Harsh, the
Pungent, the Astringent, and the Acid. Savours and Colours, it will be
observed, contain respectively about the same number of species. For
there are seven species of each, if, as is reasonable, we regard Dun
[or Grey] as a variety of Black (for the alternative is that Yellow
should be classed with White, as Rich with Sweet); while [the
irreducible colours, viz.] Crimson, Violet, leek-Green, and deep Blue,
come between White and Black, and from these all others are derived by
Again, as Black is a privation of White in the Translucent, so
Saline or Bitter is a privation of Sweet in the Nutrient Moist. This
explains why the ash of all burnt things is bitter; for the potable
[sc. the sweet] moisture has been exuded from them.
Democritus and most of the natural philosophers who treat of
sense-perception proceed quite irrationally, for they represent all
objects of sense as objects of Touch. Yet, if this is really so, it
clearly follows that each of the other senses is a mode of Touch;
but one can see at a glance that this is impossible.
Again, they treat the percepts common to all senses as proper to
one. For [the qualities by which they explain taste viz.] Magnitude
and Figure, Roughness and Smoothness, and, moreover, the Sharpness and
Bluntness found in solid bodies, are percepts common to all the
senses, or if not to all, at least to Sight and Touch. This explains
why it is that the senses are liable to err regarding them, while no
such error arises respecting their proper sensibles; e.g. the sense of
Seeing is not deceived as to Colour, nor is that of Hearing as to