On Sense And The Sensible
suffice for food- for anything which is to form a consistency must be
corporeal-, it is still much less conceivable that air should be so
corporealized [and thus fitted to be food]. But, besides this, we
see that all animals have a receptacle for food, from which, when it
has entered, the body absorbs it. Now, the organ which perceives odour
is in the head, and odour enters with the inhalation of the breath; so
that it goes to the respiratory region. It is plain, therefore, that
odour, qua odour, does not contribute to nutrition; that, however,
it is serviceable to health is equally plain, as well by immediate
perception as from the arguments above employed; so that odour is in
relation to general health what savour is in the province of nutrition
and in relation to the bodies nourished.
This then must conclude our discussion of the several organs of
One might ask: if every body is infinitely divisible, are its
sensible qualities- Colour, Savour, Odour, Sound, Weight, Cold or
Heat, [Heaviness or] Lightness, Hardness or Softness-also infinitely
divisible? Or, is this impossible?
[One might well ask this question], because each of them is
productive of sense-perception, since, in fact, all derive their
name [of 'sensible qualities'] from the very circumstance of their
being able to stimulate this. Hence, [if this is so] both our
perception of them should likewise be divisible to infinity, and every
part of a body [however small] should be a perceptible magnitude.
For it is impossible, e.g. to see a thing which is white but not of
a certain magnitude.
Since if it were not so, [if its sensible qualities were not
divisible, pari passu with body], we might conceive a body existing
but having no colour, or weight, or any such quality; accordingly
not perceptible at all. For these qualities are the objects of