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On Sense And The Sensible   



One might ask:- do the objects of sense-perception, or the

movements proceeding from them ([since movements there are,] in

whichever of the two ways [viz. by emanations or by stimulatory

kinesis] sense-perception takes place), when these are actualized

for perception, always arrive first at a spatial middle point [between

the sense-organ and its object], as Odour evidently does, and also

Sound? For he who is nearer [to the odorous object] perceives the

Odour sooner [than who is farther away], and the Sound of a stroke

reaches us some time after it has been struck. Is it thus also with an

object seen, and with Light? Empedocles, for example, says that the

Light from the Sun arrives first in the intervening space before it

comes to the eye, or reaches the Earth. This might plausibly seem to

be the case. For whatever is moved [in space], is moved from one place

to another; hence there must be a corresponding interval of time

also in which it is moved from the one place to the other. But any

given time is divisible into parts; so that we should assume a time

when the sun's ray was not as yet seen, but was still travelling in

the middle space.

Now, even if it be true that the acts of 'hearing' and 'having

heard', and, generally, those of 'perceiving' and 'having

perceived', form co-instantaneous wholes, in other words, that acts of

sense-perception do not involve a process of becoming, but have

their being none the less without involving such a process; yet,

just as, [in the case of sound], though the stroke which causes the

Sound has been already struck, the Sound is not yet at the ear (and

that this last is a fact is further proved by the transformation which

the letters [viz. the consonants as heard] undergo [in the case of

words spoken from a distance], implying that the local movement

[involved in Sound] takes place in the space between [us and the

speaker]; for the reason why [persons addressed from a distance] do

not succeed in catching the sense of what is said is evidently that

the air [sound wave] in moving towards them has its form changed)

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