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On Sense And The Sensible   

Or is what occurs in the case of the perceiving Soul conceivably

analogous to what holds true in that of the things themselves? For the

same numerically one thing is white and sweet, and has many other

qualities, [while its numerical oneness is not thereby prejudiced]

if the fact is not that the qualities are really separable in the

object from one another, but that the being of each quality is

different [from that of every other]. In the same way therefore we

must assume also, in the case of the Soul, that the faculty of

perception in general is in itself numerically one and the same, but

different [differentiated] in its being; different, that is to say, in

genus as regards some of its objects, in species as regards others.

Hence too, we may conclude that one can perceive [numerically

different objects] coinstantaneously with a faculty which is

numerically one and the same, but not the same in its relationship

[sc. according as the objects to which it is directed are not the


That every sensible object is a magnitude, and that nothing which it

is possible to perceive is indivisible, may be thus shown. The

distance whence an object could not be seen is indeterminate, but that

whence it is visible is determinate. We may say the same of the

objects of Smelling and Hearing, and of all sensibles not discerned by

actual contact. Now, there is, in the interval of distance, some

extreme place, the last from which the object is invisible, and the

first from which it is visible. This place, beyond which if the object

be one cannot perceive it, while if the object be on the hither side

one must perceive it, is, I presume, itself necessarily indivisible.

Therefore, if any sensible object be indivisible, such object, if

set in the said extreme place whence imperceptibility ends and

perceptibility begins, will have to be both visible and invisible

their objects, whether regarded in general or at the same time; but

this is impossible.

This concludes our survey of the characteristics of the organs of

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