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Aristotle on the Common Sense (Oxford Aristotle Studies Series) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0199277377
ISBN-10: 0199277370
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Editorial Reviews


"Aristotle on the Common Sense is a learned, lucidly written, and compellingly argued treatment of its subject, one that surveys and helpfully synthesizes the immense ancient and modern literature on the topic. It also proposes some novel solutions to a number of long-standing textual and interpretive problems.... Aristotle on the Common Sense is a painstakingly researched and carefully argued work. Students should begin their work on this issue here and experts should attend to it, as an undeniably original and important contribution to the scholarly conversation on this subject."--Sean D. Kirkland, Ancient Philosophy

About the Author

Paul Gregoric is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (August 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199277370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199277377
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,062,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The book is in three parts:
Part I. The Framework
Part II. The Terminology
Part III. Functions of the Common Sense

The stage is set by contrasting Plato's and Aristotle's views of the senses. In Plato's view the five senses are separate and the intellect integrates them. Aristotle's view of the matter tries to account for perception by nonhuman animals as well. So he says sensory input is integrated by the sensory capacity, by what he calls the `common sense', which also monitors sensory input. This monitoring function anticipates some modern conceptions of consciousness.

Aristotle conceptually divides the `soul' into different capacities. These are the nutritive, sensitive (perceptual and locomotive), and thinking. Plants have only the first one and only humans have the last one. The sensitive capacity of the soul is not an aggregate of the individual senses, but a unified whole. Memory, mainly in the form of images retained from sensory input, is also part of the sensitive capacity.

Integration recognizes the `common perceptibles', which are those perceived by more than one sense - change, rest, shape, magnitude, number, and one (or unity). These are sensed by both sight and touch. Part of the integration is cross-modal, e.g. that something is both hot and sweet, or colored and extended. The `special perceptibles' are those perceived by only one sense, such as taste, odor, and sound.

In sleep the common sense is incapacitated. Waking activates it. Aristotle argues that this is so because the common sense controls the peripheral sense organs. Awareness of an individual sense's activity or inactivity is the work of the common sense.
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