Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On Sense And The Sensible

Previous | Next

On Sense And The Sensible   

brought before their eyes, if they are at the time deep in thought, or

in a fright, or listening to some loud noise. This assumption, then,

must be made, and also the following: that it is easier to discern

each object of sense when in its simple form than when an ingredient

in a mixture; easier, for example, to discern wine when neat than when

blended, and so also honey, and [in other provinces] a colour, or to

discern the nete by itself alone, than [when sounded with the

hypate] in the octave; the reason being that component elements tend

to efface [the distinctive characteristics of] one another. Such is

the effect [on one another] of all ingredients of which, when

compounded, some one thing is formed.

If, then, the greater stimulus tends to expel the less, it

necessarily follows that, when they concur, this greater should itself

too be less distinctly perceptible than if it were alone, since the

less by blending with it has removed some of its individuality,

according to our assumption that simple objects are in all cases

more distinctly perceptible.

Now, if the two stimuli are equal but heterogeneous, no perception

of either will ensue; they will alike efface one another's

characteristics. But in such a case the perception of either

stimulus in its simple form is impossible. Hence either there will

then be no sense-perception at all, or there will be a perception

compounded of both and differing from either. The latter is what

actually seems to result from ingredients blended together, whatever

may be the compound in which they are so mixed.

Since, then, from some concurrent [sensory stimuli] a resultant

object is produced, while from others no such resultant is produced,

and of the latter sort are those things which belong to different

sense provinces (for only those things are capable of mixture whose

extremes are contraries, and no one compound can be formed from,

e.g. White and Sharp, except indirectly, i.e. not as a concord is

formed of Sharp and Grave); there follows logically the

Previous | Next
Site Search