Commentary on Aristotle's "On Sense and What Is Sensed" and by Aquinas

By Aquinas

According to the order present in conventional catalogues of Aristotle’s works, Thomas Aquinas started his sequence of Aristotelian commentaries with a remark on "On the Soul," which he with commentaries on "On feel and what's Sensed" and "On reminiscence and Recollection," written in 1268-70. before, those latter commentaries have by no means been released in English translation. The translations offered during this quantity are in accordance with the serious Leonine version of the commentaries and contain English translations of the Aristotelian texts on which Aquinas commented. Thomas’s observation on "On feel and what's Sensed," translated and brought by means of Kevin White, clarifies and develops Aristotle’s dialogue of sense-powers, his "application" of sense-powers to organs and gadgets, and his concluding questions about the item and medium of sensation, and the position of the "common sense." In "digressions" from his literal exposition, Aquinas provides discussions concerning psychology, epistemology, typical philosophy, and metaphysics. The remark on "On reminiscence and Recollection," translated and brought through Edward Macierowski, bargains within the first 3 chapters with reminiscence and handle 3 questions: "What is memory?" "To what a part of the soul does reminiscence belong?" and "What is the reason for remembering?" The final 8 chapters, which take care of recollection, additionally deal with 3 questions: "What is recollection?" "How does recollecting take place?" and "What is the adaptation among reminiscence and recollection?" In "digressions," Aquinas explores extra absolutely the problems coming up from the exposition of the textual content.

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The first is that if the eyes are destroyed, there visibly appears water flowing out of them. The second is that the new-formed eyes of embryos—eyes that, as it were, still retain much of the power (virtus) of their origin—have abundant cold and brightness, both of which are connatural to water. The third sign is that in animals that have blood, in which there is the possibility of generating, so to speak, fat from the blood, the pupil is surrounded by the white of the eye, which has fatness and oiliness so that its heat will keep the water-moisture of the pupil from freezing, which would diminish the transparency of the water, and thus impede vision.

But taste is necessary to an animal because of food, because by taste an animal distinguishes the pleasant and unpleasant, or good-tasting and badtasting, in food, so as to pursue one of these as suitable and avoid the other 26 C O M M E N TA RY O N ON S ENS E AND W H AT IS S E N S E D as harmful. And flavor as a whole is the affection of the nutritive part of soul— not that it is the object of the nutritive power, but that it is directed to the act of the nutritive power as its end, as was said.

An animal reaches the lowest level of knowing things, which surpass things that lack knowledge by being able to contain several beings in themselves, by which their power is shown to be CHAPTER 1 25 more open and to extend to more things. And inasmuch as a knower has a more universal grasp of things, its power is more absolute, immaterial, and perfect. Now the sensitive power that is in animals is certainly open to what is outside, but only in the singular. Hence it also has an immateriality inasmuch as it is receptive of forms of sensible things without matter, but it has the lowest immateriality in the order of knowers, inasmuch as it can receive these forms only in a bodily organ.

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