I think we can safely say that for Aristotle the proper objects of perception are sensible forms. The proper objects of reason are intelligible forms.

It is often said that in seeing, sense and its proper object are the same. That is, the sensible form present in the object is received by sense and sense is en-formed by it. Now let's assume that a sensible form is akin to a universal. In an extended sense I can say that what I see is the object which has this sensible form (red rose).

In case of proper object then my perception transcends what is visible to me. In act of perception my eye is en-formed by a sensible form which can be found all over the world. It is purely accidental to my occurrent perception that sensible form I receive is coming from that rose rather than one behind me.

Extended sense of object is more mysterious, but I guess that still what I see are bundles of sensible forms. Therefore, what I see in extended sense is still more akin to universal. So again what I see is not the particular rose (which is individuated from other roses in virtue of different matter, but I do not perceive matter but only its form) but something universal (although not universal rose, because universal rose can be identified with its substantial form which is not seen). Therefore in perception we do not see particulars and Aristotle diverges from common sense.

Situation may look better if we assume that sensible forms are more like tropes. I am not aware of any place where Aristotle would say something which falsifies such interpretation.

However, I think that there are good reasons to think about intelligible forms as substantial forms. And these surely are more akin to universals. However, if that is the case and sensible forms are tropes, then It seems that we cannot think about sensible forms and that is not something which is false.

Now I know that it is impossible to solve all problems which stems from Aristotle's corpus. But I just want to ask if the problems I posed above are real problems which can be solved only by bold interpretative moves, or rather there is something which I clearly did not understood.

  • See Aristotle's Psychology : "A devotes a great deal of attention to perception, discussing both the general faculty and the individual senses. In both cases, his discussions are cast in hylomorphic terms. “perception comes about with <an organ’s> being changed and affected… for it seems to be a kind of alteration” (De An, ii 5, 416b33–34). So in line with his general account of alteration, A treats perception as a case of interaction between two suitable agents: objects capable of acting and capacities capable of being affected. Jun 12 '18 at 13:02
  • A is happy to speak of an affected thing as receiving the form of the agent which affects it and of the change consisting in the affected thing’s “becoming like” the agent (De An,ii 5, 418a3–6; ii 12, 424a17–21). The most immediate difficulty for A’s approach to perception concerns his claim that in sense perception the relevant sensory faculty becomes like the object it perceives. Jun 12 '18 at 13:04
  • When he says that “what can perceive is potentially such as the object of sense is actually” (De An,ii 5, 418a3–4), A seems to commit himself to a claim to the effect that a sense organ in one way or another becomes like its object when it perceives." Jun 12 '18 at 13:05

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