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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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De Anima III.1 425a27

De Anima III.1 425a27

(p.69) 2 De Anima III.1 425a27
Aristotle on the Common Sense

Pavel Gregoric

Oxford University Press

One of the main purposes of De Anima III.1 is to show that there can be no sense in addition to the five familiar ones — that is, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Aristotle supplies an argument in which he concludes for the common perceptibles — such as change, shape, or magnitude — ‘we have an aisthesin koinen’. This is usually taken to imply that the common perceptibles are perceived by the common sense. The logic and the terminology of Aristotle's argument is analysed in this chapter, and it is shown that the phrase does not in fact refer to any higher-order perceptual capacity, but rather it describes an aspect of properly functioning individual senses, namely their sensitivity to the common perceptibles. This interpretation respects the logic of Aristotle's argument and accommodates the facts that the key phrase occurs without the definite article and in reverse word order.

Keywords:   De Anima, common sense, senses, common perceptibles, perception, aisthesis koine

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