On Sense And The Sensible
On the other hand, they reduce the proper to common sensibles, as
Democritus does with White and Black; for he asserts that the latter
is [a mode of the] rough, and the former [a mode of the] smooth, while
he reduces Savours to the atomic figures. Yet surely no one sense, or,
if any, the sense of Sight rather than any other, can discern the
common sensibles. But if we suppose that the sense of Taste is
better able to do so, then- since to discern the smallest objects in
each kind is what marks the acutest sense-Taste should have been the
sense which best perceived the common sensibles generally, and
showed the most perfect power of discerning figures in general.
Again, all the sensibles involve contrariety; e.g. in Colour White
is contrary to Black, and in Savours Bitter is contrary to Sweet;
but no one figure is reckoned as contrary to any other figure. Else,
to which of the possible polygonal figures [to which Democritus
reduces Bitter] is the spherical figure [to which he reduces Sweet]
Again, since figures are infinite in number, savours also should
be infinite; [the possible rejoinder- 'that they are so, only that
some are not perceived'- cannot be sustained] for why should one
savour be perceived, and another not?
This completes our discussion of the object of Taste, i.e. Savour;
for the other affections of Savours are examined in their proper place
in connection with the natural history of Plants.
Our conception of the nature of Odours must be analogous to that
of Savours; inasmuch as the Sapid Dry effects in air and water
alike, but in a different province of sense, precisely what the Dry
effects in the Moist of water only. We customarily predicate
Translucency of both air and water in common; but it is not qua
translucent that either is a vehicle of odour, but qua possessed of
a power of washing or rinsing [and so imbibing] the Sapid Dryness.