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Aristotle on the Common Sense$
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Pavel Gregoric

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277377

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277377.001.0001

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Perceptual Discrimination

Perceptual Discrimination

(p.145) 2 Perceptual Discrimination
Aristotle on the Common Sense

Pavel Gregoric

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Aristotle's notion of perceptual discrimination, which he discusses in De Anima III.2 (426 b 8-427 a 16) and III.7 (431 a 20 b 1). In the first of these passages the solution from De Sensu 7 seems to be rejected because it cannot account for perceptual discrimination of two or more homogeneous special perceptibles, e.g. black and white. That solution is supplanted by another one in which Aristotle compares the discriminating capacity to the geometrical point. This analogy is closely examined and an interpretation of its application to the case of perceptual discrimination of homogeneous special perceptibles is proposed. This interpretation is then supported, if only tentatively, by an analysis of a notoriously difficult passage from De Anima III.7. It is concluded that Aristotle's explanation of simultaneous perception and perceptual discrimination of two or more homogeneous special perceptibles is rather unsatisfactory.

Keywords:   De Anima, De Sensu, simultaneous perception, perceptual discrimination, common sense, point analogy, homogeneous, heterogeneous, perceptibles

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