previous next
[1010b] [1] And as concerning reality, that not every appearance is real, we shall say, first, that indeed the perception, at least of the proper object of a sense, is not false, but the impression we get of it is not the same as the perception.And then we may fairly express surprise if our opponents raise the question whether magnitudes and colors are really such as they appear at a distance or close at hand, as they appear to the healthy or to the diseased; and whether heavy things are as they appear to the weak or to the strong; and whether truth is as it appears to the waking or to the sleeping.For clearly they do not really believe the latter alternative—at any rate no one, if in the night he thinks that he is at Athens whereas he is really in Africa, starts off to the Odeum.1 And again concerning the future (as indeed Plato says2) the opinion of the doctor and that of the layman are presumably not equally reliable, e.g. as to whether a man will get well or not.And again in the case of the senses themselves, our perception of a foreign object and of an object proper to a given sense, or of a kindred object and of an actual object of that sense itself, is not equally reliable3; but in the case of colors sight, and not taste, is authoritative, and in the case of flavor taste, and not sight. But not one of the senses ever asserts at the same time of the same object that it is "so and not so."Nor even at another time [20] does it make a conflicting statement about the quality, but only about that to which the quality belongs. I mean, e.g., that the same wine may seem, as the result of its own change or of that of one's body, at one time sweet and at another not; but sweetness, such as it is when it exists, has never yet changed, and there is no mistake about it, and that which is to be sweet is necessarily of such a nature.Yet all these theories destroy the possibility of anything's existing by necessity, inasmuch as they destroy the existence of its essence; for "the necessary" cannot be in one way and in another; and so if anything exists of necessity, it cannot be "both so and not so."

And in general, if only the sensible exists, without animate things there would be nothing; for there would be no sense-faculty.That there would be neither sensible qualities nor sensations is probably true4(for these depend upon an effect produced in the percipient), but that the substrates which cause the sensation should not exist even apart from the sensation is impossible.For sensation is not of itself, but there is something else too besides the sensation, which must be prior to the sensation;

1 A concert-hall (used also for other purposes) built by Pericles. It lay to the south-east of the Acropolis.

2 Plat. Theaet. 171e, 178cff..

3 An object of taste is foreign to the sense of sight; a thing may look sweet without tasting sweet. Similarly although the senses of taste and smell (and therefore their objects) are kindred (Aristot. De Sensu 440b 29), in judging tastes the sense of taste is the more reliable.

4 Cf. Aristot. De Anima 425b 25-426b 8.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1924)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Athens (Greece) (1)
Africa (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 171e
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: